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Civil Rights GOP Gop Lies GOP voter suppression Gop Watch

VOTER SUPPRESSION: THE FASCIST HEART OF DARKNESS

 

PART 1: DOJ PROSECUTION

 

PUSH FOR DOJ PROSECUTION OF VOTER FRAUD IN BATTLEGROUND STATES

According to Slate, Karl Rove and His Allies Pushed DOJ and U.S. Attorneys to Vigorously Prosecute Cases of Voter Fraud. “The death of ACVR says a lot about the Republican strategy of raising voter fraud as a crisis in American elections. Presidential adviser Karl Rove and his allies, who have been ghostbusting illusory dead and fictional voters since the contested 2000 election, apparently mounted a two-pronged attack. One part of that attack, at the heart of the current Justice Department scandals, involved getting the DoJ and various U.S. attorneys in battleground states to vigorously prosecute cases of voter fraud.” (Slate, 5/18/2007)

  • The DOJ Strategy Failed to Uncover Polling Place Fraud and Backfired With Key Republicans Who Would Not Fall in Line in Battleground States. “After exhaustive effort, the Department of Justice discovered virtually no polling-place voter fraud, and its efforts to fire the U.S. attorneys in battleground states who did not push the voter-fraud line enough has backfired. Even if Attorney General Gonzales declines to resign his position, his reputation has been irreparably damaged.” (Slate, 5/18/2007)

McClatchy: ACVR Officer, Patrick Rogers, Successfully Pressed to Fire New Mexico U.S. Attorney as Part of a Purge of 9 U.S. Attorneys Who Were Not Pursuing Voter Fraud Cases Aggressively. “A New Mexico lawyer who pressed to oust U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was an officer of a nonprofit group that aided Republican candidates in 2006 by pushing for tougher voter identification laws. Iglesias, who was one of nine U.S. attorneys the administration fired last year, said that Albuquerque lawyer Patrick Rogers pressured him several times to bring voter fraud prosecutions where little evidence existed. Iglesias believes that he was fired in part because he failed to pursue such cases…Iglesias said he only recently learned of Rogers’ involvement as secretary of the non-profit American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund…” (McClatchyDC.com, 7/1/2007)

    • **HEP Tactic–Support DOJ Efforts to Restrict Voting Access** Promote DOJ led fraud forces and encourage other states to adopt similar programs. Publicly applaud DOJ voter fraud investigations (Twitter, 4/29/2020) (Twitter, 5/22/2020)

PART 2: DEPLOY NONPROFITS

 

CREATE NON-PROFIT “THINK TANKS” TO GIVE VOTER SUPPRESSION LAWS LEGAL & LEGISLATIVE CREDIBILITY AND HELP AMPLIFY MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Part Two of the Karl Rove/GOP Strategy: Use the American Center for Voting Rights to Give Voter Fraud Academic Credibility–In Order to Pass Voter-ID Laws and Support Litigation that Suppressed Minority Votes. “But the second prong of this attack may have proven more successful. This involved using ACVR to give “think tank” academic cachet to the unproven idea that voter fraud is a major problem in elections. That cachet would be used to support the passage of onerous voter-identification laws that depress turnout among the poor, minorities, and the elderly—groups more likely to vote Democratic. Where the Bush administration may have failed to nail illegal voters, the effort to suppress minority voting has borne more fruit, as more states pass these laws, and courts begin to uphold them in the name of beating back waves of largely imaginary voter fraud. Perhaps even with the demise of ACVR, the hard work—of giving credibility to a nonproblem—is done.” (Slate, 5/18/2007)

    • **HEP Tactic–Establish Credibility** Honest Elections Project has worked to gain credibility through the media. It has been covered as a legitimate organization by NPR and others and has been invited to panels with Microsoft’s Election Integrity Program. (Lincoln Network, 5/20/2020)

ACVR LAUNCHED A TV & PRINT MEDIA CAMPAIGN, RELEASED SKEWED POLLING, AND PUSHED DISCIPLINED MESSAGING AROUND “ELECTION INTEGRITY.”

The Executive Director of the ACVR Made Frequent Media Appearances, Transmitted Reports to Congress and Became an “Academic Advisor” to the Carter Commission. “Hearne made frequent media appearances, transmitted reports to Congress and the Justice Department, and was named as an “academic adviser” to a commission headed by former president Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker.” (Barriers to Voting, Keyssar, 2013)

    • **HEP Tactic–Build Large Media Campaign** $250,000 Wisconsin ad buy, campaigns confirm Supreme Court Justices Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. (New York Times, 7/22/2005)

The ACVR Also Released Skewed Polls and Issued News Releases of Voter Fraud Hot Spots.“Nowhere was the breadth of these actions more obvious than at the American Center for Voting Rights and its legislative fund…issued news releases declaring key cities “hot spots” for voter fraud and hired lobbyists in Missouri and Pennsylvania to win support for photo ID laws. In each of those states, the center released polls that it claimed found that minorities prefer tougher ID laws.”(McClatchyDC.com, 7/1/2007)

An ACVR Poll Claimed 70% of African-Americans and “An Amazing 90% of Hispanics” Support Voter ID. “Eighty-two percent of Pennsylvanians support legislation that would require voters to present some type of photo identification when they vote,” said Thor Hearne, General Counsel to ACVR – Legislative Fund…Support cuts across ethnic lines. 70% of African-Americans and an amazing 90% of Hispanics support a requirement that voters present photo ID before voting.”(ACVR Press Release, 2/30/2006)

    • **HEP Tactic–Create Your Own Facts** Snead co-built the Heritage Foundation Fraud Database and has spoken about releasing polling on voter fraud. Leo used misleading polls to create a narrative in past campaigns (The Washington Examiner, 3/16/2020)

ACVR Staffers Gave Quotes About the “Pervasive Problems of Voter Fraud” to the Press and Pushed the Line that “Election Integrity” Required “Making it Harder for People to Vote.” “Consisting of little more than a post-office box and some staffers who wrote reports and gave helpful quotes about the pervasive problems of voter fraud to the press, the group identified Democratic cities as hot spots for voter fraud, then pushed the line that “election integrity” required making it harder for people to vote.” (Slate, 5/18/2007)

ACVR General Counsel Thor Hearne: “It Should Be Easy to Vote and Tough to Cheat. “WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today American Center for Voting Rights General Counsel Thor Hearne made the following statement applauding the announcement of the Carter- Baker commission on election reform. “It should be easy to vote and tough to cheat. All 50 bi-partisan state legislatures have created election safeguards. Evidence of registration fraud, voter intimidation and vote fraud in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida and other states should make strengthening these safeguards a priority.” (ACVR Press Release, 3/4/2005)

  • Honest Elections Project Hammered Away at New Messaging Tagline: “Easy to Vote, Hard to Cheat.” Jason Snead: “In this difficult time, it is essential that we make it easy and safe to vote, but as hard as ever to cheat. There are politicians who insist that we must choose between these options, but voters should see that for what it is: a politically motivated false choice. Beginning now, states need to devise realistic contingency plans to meet the challenges of voting in this pandemic, including expanded absentee voting so that vulnerable people have the option to apply for, and cast, ballots from the safety of their homes.” (RealClearPolitics, 4/13/2020)

ACVR HIRED LAWYERS TO WRITE COURT BRIEFS, ISSUED FALSE REPORTS ON DEMOCRAT VOTER FRAUD, AND PROVIDED RESEARCH THAT DOJ COULD USE TO DETERMINE STATES/CITIES FOR FOR FRAUD PROSECUTION

The ACVR Issued a Detailed Report Claiming Democrat Operatives Were Responsible for Most Voter Intimidation and Voter Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election. “Several months later, the ACVR issued a detailed report on “Voter Fraud, Intimidation and Suppression in the 2004 Presidential Election.” The report listed numerous allegations of fraud in sixteen states (almost all involving Democrats) while asserting that “paid Democrat operatives were far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression activities than were their Republican counterparts.” (Barriers to Voting, Keyssar, 2013)

ACVR Issued Additional Reports on Areas of the Country of Concern–Which, “Coincidentally,” Tended to be the Same Battleground States that the White House Was Pressuring U.S. Attorneys to Bring More Voter Fraud Cases. “The group issued reports (PDF) on areas in the country of special concern, areas that coincidentally tended to be presidential battleground states. In many of these places, it now appears the White House was pressuring U.S. attorneys to bring more voter-fraud prosecutions.” (Slate, 5/18/2007)

The ACVR Hired High Priced Lawyers to Write Court Briefs. “sought to scrutinize voter registration records, win passage of tougher ID laws and challenge the legitimacy of voters considered likely to vote Democratic… Nowhere was the breadth of these actions more obvious than at the American Center for Voting Rights and its legislative fund. Public records show that the two nonprofits were active in at least nine states. They hired high-priced lawyers to write court briefs…”(McClatchyDC.com, 7/1/2007)

    • **HEP Tactic–Amicus Briefs** File amicus briefs in support of restricting voting rights in battleground state lawsuits (Honest Elections Project, 3/31/2020)

THE ACVR TARGETED PRO-VOTING GROUPS, INCLUDING THE NAACP, WITH CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND FALSE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS THAT LED TO DOJ INDICTMENTS

ACVR Referred False Fraud Reports Against Pro-Voting Organizations in OH, FL, PA, WI Directly to the DOJ. “Today the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) released a copy of a referral letter to the Department of Justice. The letter accompanied a copy of the Ohio Election Report submitted to the House Administration Committee on Monday. ACVR will be releasing similar reports on election activity in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and other states in coming weeks…The ACVR, working with almost one dozen Ohio attorneys involved in the November election, reviewed the facts surrounding the November general election and found substantial evidence to suggest potential criminal wrongdoing by organizations such as Americans Coming Together (“ACT”), ACORN, and the NAACP – Project Vote….As you will see in the report, third party organizations, especially ACT, ACORN and the NAACP Project Vote, were engaged in a coordinated “Get Out the Vote” effort.” (ACVR Press Release, 5/21/2005)

The ACVR “Singled Out” Pro-Voting Groups Including NAACP, America Coming Together, and ACORN–and Accused Them of Widespread Voter Fraud a “Coordinated National Litigation Strategy” to Manipulate Election Laws that Prevent Fraud. “Hearne’s group followed up his Ohio testimony with a self-commissioned report titled “Voter Fraud, Intimidation & Suppression In The 2004 Presidential Election” that purported to prove that nonpartisan progressive groups were responsible for widespread voter registration fraud and voter intimidation across the country. [3] Specifically their report singled out traditional GOP targets: ACORN, America Coming Together and the NAACP. Hearne further accused these groups of engaging in an “apparently coordinated national litigation strategy to manipulate election laws in battleground states” to supposedly “eliminate provisions in election law” that would prevent vote fraud.” (PFAW, 6/30/2007)

    • The ACVR Targeted Liberal Voter Registration Groups Like the NAACP With False Voter Fraud Allegations. “One target of the American Center was the liberal-leaning voter registration group called Project Vote, a GOP nemesis that registered 1.5 million voters in 2004 and 2006. The center trumpeted allegations that Project Vote’s main contractor, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), submitted phony registration forms to boost Democratic voting.” (McClatchyDC.com, 7/1/2007)
  • The ACVR Accused the NAACP Voter Fund Workers of Paying For Fraudulent Voter Registration Cards with Crack Cocaine. “The record indicates that in 2004, voter registration fraud was mainly the work of so-called “nonpartisan” groups such as Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now(ACORN) and NAACP National Voter Fund. Examples include…NAACP National Voter Fund worker in Ohio paid crack cocaine in exchange for a large number of fraudulent voter registration cards in names of Dick Tracy,Mary Poppins and other fictional characters.” (ACVR Report, 7/21/2005)

The ACVR Said Voter Registration Fraud Was “The First Step” in a Coordinated Effort to Rig the Election System. “ACVR Legislative Fund found that thousands of Americans were disenfranchised by illegal votes cast on Election Day 2004. For every illegal vote cast and counted on Election Day,a legitimate voter is disenfranchised. This report documents a coordinated effort by members of some organizations to rig the election system through voter registration fraud, the first step in any vote fraud scheme that corrupts the election process by burying local officials in fraudulent and suspicious registration forms.” (ACVR Report, 7/21/2005)

The Interim Kansas U.S. Attorney Broke Precedent and Indicted ACORN Five Days Before the 2006 Election Despite DOJ Policy Surrounding Elections. “In a controversial move, the interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City announced indictments against four ACORN workers five days before the 2006 election, despite the fact that Justice Department policy discourages such action close to an election. Acorn officials had notified the federal officials when they noticed the doctored forms.” (McClatchyDC.com, 7/1/2007)

IN BATTLEGROUND STATES, THE ACVR SPREAD DISINFORMATION, PUSHED FOR VOTER ID AND POLLING PLACE CLOSURES, SENT PRE-CLEARANCE LETTERS TO DOJ AND SENT NVRA NOTICES TO ELECTION OFFICIALS

The ACVR Sent PreClearance Letters for GA, Supported Policies That Made Voting Harder in MD and MO, and Monitored NVRA Requirements in MI. “The American Center for Voter Rights hosts online “State Action Centers” to promote the passage of right-wing election reform legislation. Georgia:…ACVR sent a letter to the Justice Department urging pre-clearance of a Georgia Senate bill that requires a photo ID to cast a ballot…Maryland: ACVR followed House Bill 622 [Absentee Voting on Demand]; Senate Bill 287 [Voters Rights Protection Act of 2005]; and Senate Bill 478 [Early voting]. ACVR uses its website to promote views opposing effective election reforms…Michigan: ACVR focused its efforts in Michigan on monitoring the state’s compliance with federally-required purges of voter rolls…Missouri: The ACVR Legislative Fund created FAQ’s on Missouri Election Reform Legislation, which specifically addresses and champions voter ID requirements…”(PFAW.org, 6/30/2007)

    • **HEP Tactic– Voter Purge Threats** Send NVRA lawsuit threats to states and cities to demand election officials purge voters. (Honest Elections Project, 2/27/2020)

The ACVR Monitored Voter Fraud in NM, Pushed Voter ID and Polling Place Closures in OH, PA, and Spread Disinformation in Wisconsin. “New Mexico: ACVR monitored reports of voter fraud, specifically allegations by state officials of vote buying in Española city…Ohio: ACVR…used its website to promote Republican-sponsored voter ID legislation…The bill was signed into law, while a provision requiring random audits of electronic voting machines was pulled…Pennsylvania:..ACVR urged the governor to sign a bill that includes stringent voter identification [and] shifted polling places away from where people live…Wisconsin: ACVR specifically monitored state legislation dealing with voter ID and election fraud…also featured a Chicago Tribune story reporting tire-slashing of Republican-rented vehicles in Milwaukee as part of an alleged “Election Day 2004 sabotage plot” by Democratic campaign workers.” (PFAW.org, 6/30/2007)

    • **HEP Tactic–Spread and Amplify Disinformation** Leo was involved with the spreading of intentional disinformation about Dr. Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings. (Washington Post, 11/27/2019)

PART 3: RESTRICT VOTING RIGHTS ACT

USE DOJ VOTING RIGHTS ENFORCEMENT TO RESTRICT VOTING RIGHTS

IN THE KARL ROVE ERA, THE DOJ CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION WAS LED BY A VOTER FRAUD CONSPIRACIST AND WAS ACCUSED OF DISENFRANCHISING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VOTERS

American Prospect: Beginning in 2003, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division “Issued a Flurry of Advisory Letters, Rulings, and Lawsuits Under the Guise of Fighting Fraud Designed to Disenfranchise Hundreds of Thousands of Voters. “Starting in 2003, the Justice Department’s civil-rights division issued a flurry of advisory letters, rulings, and lawsuits under the guise of fighting fraud that appear designed to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. Federal and state courts have struck down some of the laws shaped by policies promoted by the Justice Department, such as strict database-matching laws limiting new voters in Washington state and Florida.” (The American Prospect, 3/19/2008)

American Prospect: By 2004, The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Also Supported “Vote-Caging Initiatives” in 16 States & Cities, Pressuring Them to Speed Up Purges Through Letters & Lawsuits. “Over the past few years, what began as local phony lawsuits and investigations escalated into a concerted drive by the Civil Rights Division to restrict voting. Since 2004, the goal of the state GOP vote-caging initiatives has become official Justice Department policy. The department has also promoted the equivalent of caging by pressuring 16 states and cities to speed up their purging of hundreds of thousands of voters through letters and lawsuits, as first reported by Alternet.” (The American Prospect, 3/19/2008)

Under the Bush Administration, the Number of Voting Rights Objection Letters From the DOJ To Jurisdictions Under Pre-clearance “Dropped Calamitously”. “The objection letters from the DOJ to covered jurisdictions tell a poignant and powerful story about the role of the federal government under the Act. Note, first, a point we have made in our prior work: on the strength of raw data alone, it is clear that something is amiss. As Table 1 shows, the number of objections by decade shows a steady trajectory up until the end of the 1990’s. Yet, in the first five years of the Bush Administration, the numbers dropped calamitously.” (Michigan Journal of Race and Law, Issue 2, 2007)

During This Time, Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theorist Hans Von Spakovsky Acted as the De Facto Head of the Voting Section in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “Von Spakovsky has done more than anyone else to bring unfounded fears about voter fraud into the mainstream of Republican discourse. A former member of the Federal Election Commission, Von Spakovsky served under Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft as the de facto head of the voting section in the Justice Department’s civil rights division.”(Slate, 6/30/2017)

  • Slate Called Hans Von Spakovsky “The Dark Prince of Voter Fraud Alarmism” After Trump Appointed Him to the Failed Election Integrity Commission. (Slate, 6/30/2017)

Hans Von Spakovsky Overruled DOJ Staff In Order to Allow Discriminatory Voting Laws in Texas and Georgia To Pass Preclearance. “At the Justice Department, Mr. Spakovsky helped oversee the voting rights unit. In 2003, when the Texas Congressional redistricting spearheaded by the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas, was sent to the Justice Department for approval, the career staff members unanimously said it discriminated against African-American and Latino voters. Mr. Spakovsky overruled the staff, said Joseph Rich, a former lawyer in the office. Mr. Spakovsky did the same thing when they recommended the rejection of a voter identification law in Georgia considered harmful to black voters. Mr. Rich said. Federal courts later struck down the Georgia law and ruled that the boundaries of one district in the Texas plan violated the Voting Rights Act.” (New York Times, 4/12/2007)

    • TEXAS: Senior Officials at the Bush DOJ Overrode Their Department’s Recommendation That Texas Revise A Discriminatory Voting Plan that Imposed “Significant” “Reductions in Minority Voting Strength.” “These lawyers and analysts thus recommended that the Department interpose an objection under Section 5 of the Act. Given this recommendation, the matter should have ended until Texas offered a reworked plan. In a surprising turn of events, however, senior officials at the DOJ overruled the staffers and approved the plan. This was very unusual for, according to Mark Posner, a former DOJ attorney… “[t]he fact that everybody agreed that there were reductions in minority voting strength, and that they were significant, raises a lot of questions as to why” the plan was approved.” (Michigan Journal of Race and Law, Issue 2, 2007)
  • GEORGIA: The Voting Rights Division of the DOJ Overrode Its Own Department’s Recommendation That Georgia Should Revise Its Discriminatory Voter ID Law. “The Texas vignette has not proven to be an isolated incident. In 2005, for example, the state of Georgia passed a voter-identification law intended to curb voter fraud. DOJ staffers reviewed the plan and similarly concluded that the state of Georgia failed to show that the law would not discriminate against voters of color.” Yet a day after receiving the memo, John Tanner, chief of the voting rights section, wrote a letter to the state of Georgia informing its officials that DOJ would not interpose an objection to their plan.” (Michigan Journal of Race and Law, Issue 2, 2007)

THE 2020 EFFORT TO RESTRICT THE VRA

 

THE HONEST ELECTIONS PROJECT IS PART OF A COORDINATED CONSERVATIVE STRATEGY, WHICH INCLUDES 16 NONPROFITS, AIMED AT DISMANTLING SECTION 2 OF THE VRA

ON JUNE 1ST, 54 REPUBLICAN ELECTED OFFICIALS & CONSERVATIVE GROUPS FILED 14 SUPREME COURT AMICUS BRIEFS CHALLENGING SECTION 2 OF THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT. COALITION USED ARIZONA VBM CASE AS VEHICLE FOR CHALLENGE.

THE ARGUMENT:

Arizona Attorney General: The Vote By Mail Lawsuit an “Opportunity” to Establish Clear Rules of Law for the Entire Country on Section 2 Matters. “In late April of this year, Attorney General Brnovich asked the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on Arizona’s laws restricting ballot harvesting and out-of-precinct voting after the Ninth Circuit struck down the common sense election integrity measures. In February 2020, AG Brnovich obtained a stay of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, leaving Arizona’s laws in place for the time being. With similar laws enacted in several other states, the Attorney General’s Office argues this case presents an opportunity to establish a clear rule of law for the country, and the Supreme Court can and should bring clarity to these important matters that are vital to our elections. (AZ Attorney General Press Release, 6/2/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Submitted Supreme Court Brief Arguing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Should No Longer Prohibit Election Laws that Cause Racial Disparities. “At a minimum, this Court should construe Section 2 to ameliorate these constitutional infirmities. First, the Court should hold that Section 2 requires a disparate impact that is so substantial or significant as to give rise to an inference of intentional discrimination. Nearly every law will have some differential effect on different racial groups, and the Ninth Circuit’s “more than de minimis” approach makes it far too easy for a court to invalidate even neutral, common-sense election security measures. Second, the Court should hold that any racial disparities must have been caused by the challenged law; without this critical requirement, it is impossible to tell whether any alleged disparities were the result of the law at issue or unrelated social or economic conditions that are not attributable to state action. Without a proper causation element, a state could find itself liable under Section 2 for disparities it did nothing to create.” (HEP Brief, page 12, 6/1/2020)

TO NOTE:

    • 36 Republican Elected Officials and 16 Conservative Groups Filed 12 out of 14 Supreme Court Briefs in Blatant Attempt to Further Dismantle the Voting Rights Act

THE AMICUS BRIEF BREAKDOWN

Elected Officials (4 Briefs, 33 Individuals):

      • State AG’s led by Ohio AG Dave Yost (17 Total): AL, AK, AR, GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MS, NB, OH, OK, SC, SC, TN, TX, WV
      • U.S. Senators led by Ted Cruz (7 Total): Ted Cruz (TX), Marsha Blackburn (TN), John Cornyn (TX), Tom Cotton (AK), James Inhofe (OK), James Lankford (OK), Mike Lee (UT)
      • Secretaries of State led by Michael Adams (3 Total): Michael Adams (KY), R. Kyle Ardoin (LA), John R. Ashcroft (MO)
    • State Legislative Leaders led by Speaker Elijah Haahr (6 Total): Elijah Haahr (MO), Paul Gazelka (MN), David Ralson (GA), Ron Ryckman (KS), Brady Brammer (UT), Matt Simpson (AL)

AZ Specific (3 Briefs, 5 Parties):

      • AZ Elected Leaders (3 Total): Douglas A. Ducey (Governor); Karen Fann (President of AZ State Senate); Russell Bowers (Speaker of the AZ House)
      • Maricopa County
    • Former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell: From Purcell v. Gonzalez (2006), Supreme Court created “Purcell principle,” which said that courts should be reluctant to intrude in election administration

Conservative Groups That Back Restrictive Voting Policy (7 Briefs, 16 Groups):

      • Honest Elections Project
      • Judicial Watch (2 Total): Judicial Watch and Allied Educational Foundation (likely for standing) Joint Brief
      • Pacific Legal Foundation (3 Total): Three “Color-Blind” Advocacy Groups: Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), and Project 21
      • American Constitutional Rights Union (2 Total): Two Voter Initiative Groups–Protect Military Votes and Protect Elderly Votes Project for Standing
      • Public Interest Legal Foundation (5 Total): On Behalf of 5 Former Republican DOJ Civil Rights AG’s– Hans A. Von Spakovsky, Thomas E. Wheeler,II, Bradley Schlozman, Roger Clegg, Bob N. Driscoll
      • Election Integrity Project (2 Total): EIP California and EIP Arizona
    • Republican State Leadership Committee: Elects Republican Secretaries of State

**link to spreadsheet of amicus briefs, counsel, etc**

 

CRC ADVISORS

 

LEONARD LEO IS USING CRC ADVISORS TO MANAGE H.E.P. AND HELP ENSURE STRATEGIC COORDINATION ACROSS A NETWORK OF CONSERVATIVE NON-PROFITS

LEONARD LEO STEPPED DOWN FROM THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY, FOR WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE FIRST TIME, TO BUILD CRC ADVISORS–A DARK MONEY CLEARINGHOUSE FOR CONSERVATIVE CAUSES THAT WILL SPEND TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THIS CYCLE

Leo Started As The Chairman Of CRC Advisors In 2020. “Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, is stepping aside from his daily duties at the organization to launch a consulting firm that will fund conservative causes. The new firm, called CRC Advisors, is being billed as a “full-service conservative public affairs powerhouse.” Leo will be chairman of CRC Advisors, which springs from an existing conservative public relations firm called CRC Strategies.” (ABA Journal, 1/8/2020)

  • For the First Time, Leo Is Stepping Down As Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society For CRC Advisors, Rather Than Just Taking a Leave of Absence. “In order to join the venture, Leo is stepping down from his role as vice president of the Federalist Society, which is the foremost conservative legal group. He will, however, maintain his role as co-chairman of the organization’s board. In that capacity, Leo will still be involved in things like the group’s educational work, the individual associated with the new group said. Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who follows judicial nominations, said Leo’s move could be due in part to the Federalist Society’s position that it doesn’t get involved in politics. “My impression was that because the Federalist Society says it doesn’t get involved in elections, it would go against that mandate for the Federalist society itself to basically start running campaign ads,” Wheeler said.” (Bloomberg Law, 1/7/2020)

CRC Advisors Will Act as an Incubator for Policy Project, Coalitions, and Groups, Connect Non Profits, and Provide Consulting Services. “At CRC Advisors, we don’t just represent you. We work with you to build winning ventures. WE INCUBATE public policy projects, coalitions, and groups: mission-driven, focused, results-oriented. WE CONNECT best-in-class professionals, successful non-profits, and savvy philanthropists, forging partnerships tailored for success. WE STRENGTHEN our clients by helping them identify and bring together the capabilities they need to win, whether in public policy or private enterprise.” (CRC Advisors, Last Accessed: 5/31/2020)

  • Leo Claimed He Was Inspired by Arabella Advisors –a Firm He Said Advised Liberal Donors and Nonprofits About Where to Spend Their Money. “Conservative powerhouse Leonard Leo tells Axios that he’ll step aside from the daily running of the Federalist Society to focus on a new venture — inspired by Arabella Advisers on the left — that will funnel big money and expertise across the conservative movement… Leo told Axios that he and his business partner, conservative communications executive Greg Mueller, studied tax filings that led them to Arabella, a little-known yet powerful consulting firm that advises liberal donors and nonprofits about where to spend their money…Leo and Mueller told Axios that after studying Arabella’s structure they were impressed — and saw the opportunity to build a replica on the right.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)

Federalist Society Leonard Leo and Partner Greg Mueller’s New Venture “CRC Advisors” Launched a “Minimum of $10 Million Issue Advocacy Campaign for the 2020 Cycle.” “Conservative powerhouse Leonard Leo tells Axios that he’ll step aside from the daily running of the Federalist Society to focus on a new venture — inspired by Arabella Advisers on the left — that will funnel big money and expertise across the conservative movement…. One of the first projects will be a ‘minimum of $10 million issue advocacy campaign…The new venture will be called CRC Advisors…The new venture will go beyond the anonymous money networks they’ve already built and weaponized in the conservative legal movement movement.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)

    • CRC Advisors Will Work with 2 Existing Nonprofits “Rebranded” as the Concord Fund and the 85 Fund to Funnel Tens of Millions of Dollars into Conservative Causes. “CRC Advisors will evolve out of Mueller’s existing conservative communications firm, CRC Strategies. Mueller and Leo say they plan to work with two existing non-profit groups, which will be rebranded as the Concord Fund and the 85 Fund, to funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)
  • The 85 Fund is a Non-Profit Run By Leonard Leo and Greg Mueller Through Their Consulting Group, CRC Advisors. “CRC Advisors will evolve out of [Greg] Mueller’s existing conservative communications firm, CRC Strategies. Mueller and [Leonard] Leo say they plan to work with two existing non-profit groups, which will be rebranded as the Concord Fund and the 85 Fund, to funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)

THE EVOLUTION OF CRC ADVISORS: “THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL PEOPLE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF”

      • Creative Response Concepts: CRC Originally Began as a Public Relations Firm Called Creative Response Concepts, later changing its name to CRC Public Relations.
      • CRC Strategies: In Recent Years, CRC Expanded Into Research & Polling, Advocacy, Social Media, Advertising, and Content and Rebranded Itself as CRC Strategies.
    • CRC Advisors: Now, CRC Has Evolved Once Again, Into CRC Advisors. An Organization That Will Incubate Conservative Projects and Groups, Connect Non-Profit Organizations, and Provide Access to Previous PR & Consulting Services.

CRC Advisors Was Previously Known as CRC Strategies, CRC Public Relations, and Creative Response Concepts. *not quote* All of these websites currently redirect to crcadvisors.com: CRC Strategies: crcstrategies.com, CRC Public Relations: crcpublicrelations.com, and Creative Response Concepts: crc4pr.com. (Last Accessed, 5/31/2020)

CRC Advisors Founders Claimed Group “Evolved” Out of CRC Strategies. “CRC Advisors will evolve out of Mueller’s existing conservative communications firm, CRC Strategies. Mueller and Leo say they plan to work with two existing non-profit groups, which will be rebranded as the Concord Fund and the 85 Fund, to funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)

In 2019, CRC Strategies Became the Umbrella Organization for CRC Public Relations, Digital & Social, Advocacy, Advertising and Polling Arms. “What We Do: What we do is deliver results. The core services we often rely on most, for delivering these results, are listed below…PUBLIC RELATIONS We’ve built strong relationships with the most respected journalists at the top business and vertical media outlets. From broadcast, print, digital, social, and influencers, we channel your news to the right audiences to earn you the greatest coverage and results for your money…DIGITAL & SOCIAL… CONTENT & BRANDING…ADVERTISING…RESEARCH & INSIGHTS…ADVOCACY…Are you prepared the next time a crisis strikes?…crcstrategies.com…CRC STRATEGIES © 2019 · ALL RIGHTS RESERVED” (crcstrategies.com, last accessed: 5/31/2020)

  • CRC Was Described by Kellyanne Conway as “The Most Consequential People You’ve Never Heard Of.” ‘They are among the most powerful and consequential people you’ve never heard of, and they like it that way,’ said Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who has worked with CRC for years. ‘CRC is one of the first entities that is called whenever there is a major public policy initiative for most conservatives.’” (Washington Post, 6/11/2009)

CRC Public Relations Was Formerly Known as Creative Response Concepts. “CRC Public Relations is a staple of the conservative public affairs ecosystem. The firm, originally called Creative Response Concepts, was founded in 1989 but first achieved prominence in 2004, when it coordinated the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign, a nationwide PR and advertising campaign to cast doubt on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s war record.” (Huffington Post, 7/21/2018)

LEONARD LEO AND GREG MUELLER HAVE EXPERIENCE USING MEDIA TO SUPPORT CONSERVATIVE CAUSES

SUMMARY OF TACTICS USED BY LEO & MUELLER:

Media Pressure Campaign:

      • Leo built large media pressure campaigns; he did this to confirm Supreme Court Justices Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh. (New York Times, 7/22/2005)
      • Leo has used many shell nonprofits and to funnel money and coordination to other conservative groups, so that they would conduct media appearances for his cause. (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)
      • Leo has spent millions on digital ads as well. (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)
      • Leo has used targeted attack ads to push specific vulnerable politicians on both sides. (NPR, 4/12/2017)
      • Leo and Mueller also have a sophisticated understanding of Christian and conservative talk radio to their new initiative; it is another tool they habitually use. (Washington Post, 7/10/1997)
      • Leo’s associate at Honest Elections Project’s previous iteration, Daniel Casey, led hyper-targeted messaging campaigns, focused at the neighborhood and precinct level. (The Nation, 9/5/2018)
    • CRC key tactics in the 90’s included heavy editorial pushes in small newspapers around the country, which would help build to beltway lobbying efforts. (Washington Post, 7/10/1997)

Disinformation:

      • Mueller has built a career out of spreading disinformation, most notably by leading the “Swift-Boat” campaign against John Kerry, but also by spreading disinformation against Christine Blasey Ford. (Politico, 9/21/2018)
      • Leo’s nonprofits were involved in intentionally spreading disinformation about Dr. Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings. (Washington Post, 11/27/2019)
    • Leo used likely misleading polls to create a narrative in past campaigns; since CRC recently acquired Kellyanne Conway’s The Polling Company, their polling capacity has increased. (The Washington Examiner, 3/16/2020)

Organizing :

    • Leo also has a background in religious group mobilization, through his nonprofits and through the Bush and Romney campaigns; he specializes in Catholic lay member mobilization. (Politico, 10/15/2012)

EXAMPLES OF TACTICS

Leonard Funneled $250 Million to Nonprofit Groups Who Supported Conservative Policies Through Advertising and TV Appearances by Their Executive Directors. “Between 2014 and 2017 alone, they collected more than $250 million in such donations, sometimes known as “dark money,” according to a Post analysis of the most recent tax filings available. The money was used in part to support conservative policies and judges, through advertising and through funding for groups whose executives appeared as television pundits.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo Backed Groups Paid CRC $10 Million for Gorsuch Media Campaign to Publish Opinion Essays, Contribute Quotes, Schedule Appearances, and Post Viral Videos. “Nine of the groups hired the same conservative media relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, collectively paying it more than $10 million in contracting fees in 2016 and 2017. During that time, the firm coordinated a months-long media campaign in support of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, including publishing opinion essays, contributing 5,000 quotes to news stories, scheduling pundit appearances on television and posting online videos that were viewed 50 million times, according to a report on the firm’s website.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Creative Response Concepts Represented High Profile Right-Wing Clients, Political Advocacy Groups & Fossil Fuel Companies and Was Behind the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” Campaign Against John Kerry. “Creative Response Concepts is a Virginia-based public relations firm, known for working with numerous high-profile right-wing clients, as well as fossil fuel companies such as oil major Chevron….The firm has also represented political advocacy groups funded by the Koch brothers, including Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Tax Reform…CRC was founded in 1989 but came to prominence in 2004 when it coordinated the ‘Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’ campaign to cast doubt on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s war record.” (DESMOG, Last Visited: 5/15/2020)

After Supreme Court Decisions, Honest Elections Project Spent $250,000 On Anti-VBM Ad Buy and Digital Campaign. “A group fighting liberal efforts to use the coronavirus as an excuse to rewrite election laws is countering with a new ad showing how the standard system of in-person voting and absentee ballots worked in Wisconsin last week. With a $250,000 ad buy and a digital campaign, the new Honest Elections Project is also calling out national efforts to swap out the current system with mail-in voting and ballot harvesting that it fears would be easy to manipulate to help Democrats.” (Washington Examiner, 4/13/2020)

Leo Paid Independent Women’s Voice $4 Million During Kavanaugh Confirmation to Buy Facebook Ads that Reached Hundreds of Thousands of Users. “Leo’s Freedom and Opportunity Fund, meanwhile, distributed $4 million to Independent Women’s Voice over two years. The leaders of Independent Women’s Voice appeared frequently on Fox News, speaking in support of Trump and his judicial nominees. They spoke at rallies, according to videos, and they bought Facebook ads that reached hundreds of thousands of users, according to a Facebook political advertising database. Heather Higgins, the group’s president and chief executive, expressed doubts on Fox News about the memory of the woman accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

As Part of Kavanaugh Media Campaign, Independent Women’s Voice Mimicked Grassroots Organizations Support by Appearing at Rallies, Writing Commentary, and Making TV Appearances. “In another case, a nonprofit Leo launched in 2016, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund, gave $4 million over two years to a nonprofit called Independent Women’s Voice, about half the group’s revenue, tax filings show. Leaders of Independent Women’s Voice last year spoke at rallies, wrote online commentary and appeared regularly on Fox News to promote another of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, Brett M. Kavanaugh.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leonard Leo Helped Found Judicial Crisis Network to Promote George W. Bush’s Judicial Picks and Later Spent More Than $20 Million Blocking President Obama’s Nominees. “[JCN] was founded in 2004 to promote then-President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees. [The “Judicial Confirmation Network” was rebranded as the “Judicial Crisis Network” during the Obama administration]….As of September 2018, JCN had spent more than $20 million on efforts to block former-President Obama’s nominees and support President Trump’s.” (SourceWatch, Last Accessed: 1/10/2020)

  • Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) Is the Public Face of a Secretive Network of Dark Money Groups Spending Millions to Confirm Trump’s Supreme Court Picks. “Judicial Crisis Network, a ‘dark money’ group that operates as the preeminent vehicle for deep-pocketed donors to funnel millions of dollars to support or oppose judicial nominees in Supreme Court confirmation fights, has served as the public face of the network while a web of secretive groups operate behind the scenes.” (Open Secrets, 1/2/2020)

STATEMENTS BY H.E.P.

A SAMPLING OF STATEMENTS BY HONEST ELECTIONS PROJECT

Executive Director Jason Snead: “People Who Commit Serious Crimes Should be Required to Prove They Have Turned Over a New Leaf Before we Invite Them Back…to Participate in the Electoral Process.” “People who commit serious crimes ‘should be required to prove that they have turned over a new leaf before we invite them back into the fold to be able to participate in the electoral process,’ said Jason Snead, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, who argues for increased scrutiny of felons at the ballot box as part of a broader campaign against voter fraud. At least 180 felons have been prosecuted for voting over the past 20 years, according to a list of voting-related convictions and civil judgments compiled by Mr. Snead. The list includes over 100 felons who were prosecuted in Minnesota after a local citizens group, the Minnesota Majority, crosschecked the names of released felons against the list of people who cast ballots in 2008.” (NYT, 5/13/2018)

Jason Snead: Fraudulent Voting Behavior “Deeply Ingrained in Certain Regions of the Country.” “I’ve looked at too many cases of proven fraudulent behavior which have resulted in elections that have been tampered with or overturned that have resulted in voter disenfranchisement to simply ignore those…If you allow for, or simply excuse, or disregard proven instances of fraudulent behavior—which sometimes do not go detected—which are deeply ingrained in certain regions of the country, then you’re sending a very strong message to voters that this process is tolerated.”—Jason Snead, 58:00 (Lincoln Network, 5/28/2020)

Honest Elections Project’s Snead: The Greatest Danger Is Not the Virus Itself But Democratic Electoral Reform Measures. “Democrats’ electoral reform measures marketed as responses to the coronavirus are a greater threat to elections than the viral pandemic itself, determined Snead. ‘There is a real danger here that we will act hastily in a way which will undermine the credibility and confidence that voters have in their democracy,’ Snead stated. “That’s the greatest danger, actually, that is posed to our elections from coronavirus. It’s not the virus itself. It’s the risk that we will act in such a way that will damage our ability to trust the results of our own elections.” (Breitbart, 4/15/2020)

Snead: “I Simply Do Not See Any Evidence of Voter Suppression and Do Not Subscribe to the Notion that Election Integrity Measures Constitute Voter Suppression.” “Jason Snead, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, dismissed the notion of voter suppression in an interview last week… ‘I simply do not see any evidence of voter suppression and do not subscribe to the notion that election integrity measures constitute voter suppression,’ Snead said…‘I don’t think they’re designed in any way to disenfranchise voters, and I don’t think they have that effect,’ he said.” (Washington Post, 8/22/2019)

Honest Elections Project’s Snead: House HEROES Bill Undermines, Eliminates and Hinders Election Safeguards So Effectively That It Is “Equivalent to Barring Americans From Locking Their Front Doors.” “The House Democrats’ latest election proposal once again places politics ahead of the credibility of our elections and the interests of voters. Americans deserve to have confidence in their elections, but there is hardly a single voter integrity law this bill does not undermine or eliminate. In fact, this proposal would so hinder the ability of states to effectively safeguard elections, it is equivalent to barring Americans from locking their front doors.” (Honest Elections Project, Accessed: 5/14/2020)

Honest Elections Project Praises Georgia Fraud Task Force and Encourages Other States to Follow Suit. Honest Elections Project @honestelections: “We commend @GaSecofState who is taking the risk of voter fraud seriously in these unprecedented times. We hope states continue to follow suit and develop contingency plans which maintain the integrity of our elections. #GAPol” (Twitter, 4/29/2020)

Snead: “Whenever an Illegal Ballot is Cast, a Lawful Voter is Effectively Disenfranchised. Voters Should Find that Intolerable.” “One of the most important of these is the requirement that voters present a photo ID. This can help prevent many types of election fraud, including impersonation fraud, duplicate voting and noncitizen voting…In the final analysis, photo identification serves a clear and beneficial purpose: to allow officials to better secure American elections by verifying the identity of voters and screening out unlawful would-be participants. Whenever an illegal ballot is cast, a lawful voter is effectively disenfranchised. Voters should find that intolerable.” (CQ Researcher, 10/12/2018)

Honest Elections Project’s Snead: National Vote-By-Mail Would Cause Millions of Ballots To Go To Wrong Addresses, Ineligible Voters, Dead Voters, and People Who Have Committed Felonies. “Snead went on, “As many as one-in-eight voter registrations are invalid or outdated, so you’re looking at the prospect of millions of ballots being sent out to the wrong addresses, being sent out in the names of ineligible voters, [or] being sent out in the names of dead voters…and to people who “have committed a felony that disqualifies them from voting.” (Breitbart, 4/15/2020)

Honest Elections Project Tweet: “Last Minute Changes to Elections Invite Confusion, Chaos, and Doubt.” @honestelections: One day before the election, Wisconsinites can’t say with certainty whether it will take place. Last-minute changes to elections invite confusion, chaos, and doubt; that’s why it’s important for states to plan ahead and ensure they care about conducting safe, lawful elections.” (Twitter, 4/6/2020)

Honest Elections Launched $250,000 Ad Campaign Against “Brazen Attempts to Manipulate the Election System for Partisan Advantage. “Democratic politicians and liberal activists are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to push for sudden changes to our election laws that have caused, and will continue to cause, chaos and disruption at the federal and state level. Honest Elections Project (HEP) is launching a week-long $250,000 national TV and digital ad campaign calling out these brazen attempts to manipulate the election system for partisan advantage.” (Honest Elections, 4/12/2020)

Jason Snead of Honest Elections Project: “Partisan Operatives and Activists” Are Using the Courts To “Force Changes They Could Not Win Through the Normal Legislative Process.” “[T]he chaos in Wisconsin owes far more to the vexatious litigation brought by partisan operatives and activists than to the date it was held…[I]f voters are looking for someone to hold accountable, they should look not to judges who faithfully apply the law, but to their elected officials and the partisan operatives and activists who went to court to force changes they could not win through the normal legislative process. If we continue on that path, we invite a debacle on a national scale.” (RealClear Politics, 4/13/2020)

Honest Election Project’s Snead: Democrats’ Proposal Would “Expose Voters to Coercion and Intimidation,” Gut Voter ID, Mandate “Foolhardy” VMB Election, and “Invite Chaos and Fraud.” “The Democrats’ proposal would expose voters to coercion and intimidation through vote harvesting schemes, gut popular and crucial voter identification requirements, and mandate a foolhardy vote-by-mail election that invites chaos and fraud. American voters deserve better.” (Honest Elections Project, Last Accessed: 5/14/2020)

Honest Elections’ Jason Snead: Democrats View Pandemic as a “Politically Opportune Moment to Advance Legislation.” “Now, with millions of Americans homebound because of COVID-19, progressives are amping up their push for national mail-in voting as Michelle Obama throws her support behind related legislation purporting to be a response to the pandemic…‘On the whole, this has little to do with a COVID-19 response and a lot to do with the agenda the Democratic Party has proposed in the past,’ Jason Snead, executive director of the watchdog group Honest Elections, said of the bill in a phone interview with The Daily Signal. ‘They seem to view this as a politically opportune moment to advance legislation,’ Snead said of Obama and other proponents.” (Daily Signal, 4/21/2020)

Honest Elections Project: Mandating a National VBM Election for November Will Invite Confusion, Fraud, Chaos and Endless Lawsuits Over the Results. “Mandating a national vote-by-mail election this November isn’t a solution for voting in a pandemic, it’s an invitation for confusion, fraud, and endless lawsuits over the results. Overhauling the way Americans vote isn’t as easy as throwing a switch, and trying to do it a mere six months ahead of a presidential election risks a repeat of Iowa’s caucus chaos on a national scale. We owe it to future generations not to take such reckless risks with the credibility of our democracy.” (Honest Elections, 4/28/2020)

Honest Elections Project Director Snead: Universal VBM Would Result in “Election-Day Litigation on an Unprecedented Scale.” “A national vote-by-mail election would also raise the prospect of election-day litigation on an unprecedented scale, in which elections aren’t decided on Election Day by voters but are decided days or weeks later in court by partisan attorneys and legal maneuvering.” (RealClear Politics, 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project Promised to Fight Every Democratic Effort to Change Elections In or Out of Courts. “Politicians and activists are exploiting this crisis to push a political agenda that would permanently change our democracy…” said Honest Election Project Executive Director Jason Snead…He promised that his legal group will fight every Democratic effort to change elections in or out of courts. “The Democrats are circling the wagons to upend our election system, and Honest Elections Project will be fighting all the way to Election Day to defend our election laws and system,” said an adviser to the group.” (Washington Examiner, 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project Executive Director, Jason Snead Said ‘Ballot Harvesting’ Creates Opportunity to Spread Coronavirus in Nursing Homes. “Snead said, “If you’re talking about responding to a pandemic, it’s probably not a good idea to send people door-to-door through nursing homes collecting ballots because that creates an opportunity to spread the virus, and just that really starkly puts in perspective how political and politicized this whole response has been.” (Breitbart, 4/15/2020)

Jason Snead: “This Nation’s Elections Have Long Been Tainted By Fraud.” “Guaranteeing the integrity of American elections requires ensuring the fairness of the process and the validity of the results. This is not something to take for granted; after all, this nation’s elections have long been tainted by fraud. The Heritage Foundation has documented 1,145 proven instances of fraud in recent elections. This sampling of cases spans the country and involves a wide range of misconduct, including elections that were overturned because of fraud.” (CQ Researcher, 10/12/2018)

Jason Snead Called Absentee Ballots “The Second Least Secure Form of Voting After Internet Voting.” “Another is the fact that absentee ballots are probably the second least secure form of voting after internet voting. Ballots that are put in the mail can be lost, they can be tampered with or even destroyed, without the voters knowledge. And in these sorts of circumstances voters might find themselves disenfranchised. We saw this sort of thing happen in NC in 2018 when 100s of ballots were tampered with or destroyed in a concerted attempt to swing an election…that’s the sort of thing that I’m concerned about.” (C-SPAN, 3/24/2020)

 

LITIGATION

 

HONEST ELECTIONS PROJECT LITIGATION & LEGAL ACTIONS OVERVIEW

(AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, FL, KY, MI, MN, NC, NV, OH, TN, TX, VA, WI)

Honest Elections Project Filed Motion to Intervene in AK Case That Argues Sending Mail Ballots Only to Older Voters Discriminates Against Other Alaskans. “Alaska’s decision to send absentee ballot applications to those over 65 years of age does not in any way implicate fundamental rights, nor does it harm Plaintiffs’ voting rights. Second, the Purcell Doctrine, established precedent from the United States Supreme Court, precluded the issuance of an injunction by this court.” (Disability Law Center v. Kevin Meyer, 8/3/2020)

    • Counsel for Honest Elections Project: “Jason P. Torchinsky and Dennis W. Polio of HOLTZMAN VOGEL JOSEFIAK TORCHINSKY PLLC and Former Alaska AG Craig W. Richards (Disability Law Center v. Kevin Meyer, 8/3/2020)

Honest Elections Filed Amicus Brief in Alabama in Defense of State and Against Lawsuit to Safeguard Voters During COVID-19 Crisis. HEP brief makes two arguments: “COVID-19 Cannot Make a Valid Election Law Invalid,” and “The Challenged Laws Impose Only Reasonable, Nondiscriminatory Voting Requirements on all Alabama Voters.” (People First of Alabama v. John Merrill, 5/26/2020)

    • Counsel For Honest Elections Project Was Listed As: Steven M. Brom and Bryan M. Taylor of BACHUS BROM & TAYLOR LLC (Alabama); and Tyler R. Green and Cameron T. Norris of CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC.” (People First of Alabama v. John Merrill, 5/26/2020)

HEP Filed Amicus Brief Supporting Arkansas’ Appeal of Ruling Striking Down In-Person Witnessing and Notary Requirements for Signatures on Ballot Initiative Petitions. “Plaintiffs claim that COVID-19 is license for courts to suspend laws that protect the integrity of the electoral process. The district court partially accepted Plaintiffs’ invitation, enjoining Arkansas’s requirements that signatures on initiative petitions be made in the presence of the canvasser and that the canvasser confirm their validity with a notarized affidavit. This Court will likely reverse that ruling for at least two reasons. First, COVID-19 cannot make an otherwise constitutional law unconstitutional. A global virus is not state action. Even if it were, the State’s interest in maintaining the integrity of elections does not go away during a pandemic… Second, even if it were possible to challenge these laws “as applied” to COVID19, the laws challenged here pass constitutional scrutiny. The State has an interest in deterring fraud and abuse in the initiative process. That interest is real, legitimate, and outweighs the small burdens on canvassers.” (HEP Amicus Brief, Miller v. Thurston, Filed: 6/20/2020)

    • Honest Elections Project Amicus Brief Argument: If You Can Go to The Grocery Story During COVID-19, You Can Get Your Signatures Notarized. “Plaintiffs have submitted no evidence that individuals can go to work or the grocery store, but cannot obtain signatures or notarization, while honoring principles of social distancing. There is none. For all these reasons and more, Plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on appeal. Even if the merits were close, the equities aren’t. See Stay Mot. 23-24. This Court should stay the district court’s injunction.” (HEP Amicus Brief, Miller v. Thurston, Filed:6/10/2020)
    • Honest Elections Project Was Represented By Attorneys From RNC Law Firm Consovoy McCarthy. “Patrick Strawbridge…Cameron T. Norris, Jordan M. Call CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC…Arlington, VA …Counsel for Amicus Curiae Honest Elections Project” (HEP Amicus Brief, Miller v. Thurston, Filed:6/10/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Submitted Supreme Court Brief in Arizona Case Arguing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Should No Longer Prohibit Election Laws that Cause Racial Disparities. “At a minimum, this Court should construe Section 2 to ameliorate these constitutional infirmities. First, the Court should hold that Section 2 requires a disparate impact that is so substantial or significant as to give rise to an inference of intentional discrimination. Nearly every law will have some differential effect on different racial groups, and the Ninth Circuit’s “more than de minimis” approach makes it far too easy for a court to invalidate even neutral, common-sense election security measures. Second, the Court should hold that any racial disparities must have been caused by the challenged law; without this critical requirement, it is impossible to tell whether any alleged disparities were the result of the law at issue or unrelated social or economic conditions that are not attributable to state action. Without a proper causation element, a state could find itself liable under Section 2 for disparities it did nothing to create.” (Brnovich et al v DNC et al, page 12, 6/1/2020)

Honest Elections Sent Litigation NVRA Threats to CO, FL, MI, Alleging “Serious Problems with Voter Registration “WASHINGTON, DC – Voters in Colorado, Florida and Michigan today sent letters to election officials in all three states demanding that serious problems with voter registration records be addressed or lawsuits will be filed. The apparent irregularities were discovered through research conducted by the Honest Elections Project, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan elections watchdog organization. (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Filed an Amicus Brief in the Florida Voting Rights Case Concerning Former Felonies. “WASHINGTON, DC – The Honest Elections Project has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, stating that a three-judge panel of the court misapplied anti-discrimination law in the ongoing Florida felon voting case. The panel ruled that it’s a discriminatory policy for convicted felons to not have their voting rights reinstated until they pay back their monetary debts to the State of Florida. Honest Elections supports Florida’s appeal for review before the full Eleventh Circuit.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

In Order to Avoid Litigation, The Honest Elections Project Sent a Letter to Kentucky Governor Concerning His Ability to Suspend Elections. “To what extent, under the current state of emergency declared by the President of the United States and the Governor of Kentucky due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can the Governor supersede or suspend Kentucky law?… We hope that Kentucky will be able to avoid the litigation and the harm to voters that Ohio’s last minute changes created. To avoid repeating Ohio’s mistakes, the Honest Elections Project seeks clarification about the extent to which the Governor can supersede or suspend Kentucky’s duly enacted laws, beyond merely rescheduling the date of the election, particularly in light of the fact that Kentucky’s election statutes put the bipartisan State Board of Elections in charge of setting rules for rescheduled elections.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project (HEP) Sued Michigan SOS Claiming Violation of NVRA in 16 Counties with “Suspiciously High” Voter Registration Rates. “A voter filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson…and other officials, claiming that in at least 16 counties voter rolls have not been properly maintained and that this leaves them vulnerable to fraud in November’s election. Tony Daunt, a Republican active in his state and county parties, alleges that the Michigan voter registration rates in these counties are ‘suspiciously high’ because their voting records have not been cleaned out to remove ineligible voters, including those who have died, moved, or been convicted of felonies…The lawsuit cited data compiled by the Honest Elections Project.” (Fox News, 6/9/2020)

    • Honest Election Project Counsel: William S. Consovoy, Cameron T. Norris and Tiffany H. Bates of CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC; Jason Torchinsky of HOLTZMAN VOGEL JOSEFIAK TORCHINSKY PLLC. (Anthony Daunt v. Jocelyn Benson, 6/9/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Filed a Brief Opposing DSCC & DCCC in Minnesota Voting Case. “Washington, DC – Today, the Honest Elections Project filed a brief supporting the state of Minnesota against a partisan lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law that encourages competitive elections. Currently, Minnesota law mandates that major-party candidates be listed in reverse order based on how well their party performed in the last election. Now, the top Democratic political committees, the DSCC and the DCCC, along with two DFL voters, are challenging the law, although they supported it while in the minority.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project Threatened North Carolina: “Clean Up Voter Rolls or Face Lawsuits.” “The Honest Elections Project sent a letter to North Carolina election officials demanding that serious problems with voter registration records be addressed or lawsuits will be filed…‘North Carolina has an incredible three-dozen counties where voter registration rates exceed 90 percent, and in some cases, 100 percent. In the last election in 2018, the nationwide registration rate according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 66.9 percent. That disparity is a clear sign these states aren’t maintaining accurate voter rolls,’ said Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project.” (Honest Elections, 5/5/2020)

    • RealClearPolitics Said Voters in Colorado, Florida, and Michigan Are Threatening to Sue States Over “Bloated Registration Rolls” Using Honest Elections Project “Research.” “Voters in three key presidential battleground states are threatening their election officials with lawsuits over bloated registration rolls. They are relying on research by a new watchdog group, the Honest Elections Project, which found that all three states — Colorado, Florida and Michigan — have multiple counties where voter registration rates exceed 90% of the adult population and in some cases exceed 100%.” (RealClearPolitics, 5/01/2020)

Honest Elections Project Appeared on State Propaganda Network OANN and Said HEP They Were Working With Voters to Potentially Bring NVRA “Rights of Action” Lawsuit in North Carolina. (4:30, JASON SNEAD) “So we worked with voters in North Carolina to send a letter this week alerting officials to what we had found. And under the federal law that we’re talking about, there is a right of action that they can sue in order to force compliance. We hope it doesn’t come to that, and we hope that North Carolina will clean up it’s rolls voluntarily, but that’s something that we’re going to consider as time goes forward.” (OANN.COM, 5/8/2020)

Honest Elections Project Filed Amicus Brief in Nevada Case Arguing Against Expanded In-Person Voting and Ballot Harvesting. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in state court recently, defending Nevada’s duly-enacted election laws, including crucial voter protections that prevent ballot harvesting and ensure the integrity of absentee votes. Jason Snead, executive director, made this statement: “Almost every day, the Democratic Party or liberal groups target a new state with a lawsuit intended to strike down common sense election laws. Their objectives are laid out in plain text: to automatically mail ballots, even to voters the state believes have died or moved away; to legalize fraud-prone vote harvesting; and to deny officials key tools that let them weed out improper or fraudulent ballots.” (Honest Elections Project, 5/4/2020)

    • Honest Elections Cited 2005 Carter Center Opposition to Third Party Ballot Collection. “In 2005, The Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, found the following: Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud. . . States therefore should reduce the risks of fraud and abuse in absentee voting by prohibiting “third-party” organizations, candidates, and political party activists from handling absentee ballots… The Carter-Baker Commission went on to make this formal recommendation: “State and local jurisdictions should prohibit a person from handling absentee ballots other than the voter.” (Corona vs Cegavske, 5/4/2020)
    • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Listed as Law Firm for Honest Elections Project in Nevada. ”BROWNSTEIN HYATT FARBER SCHRECK, LLP; Scott Scherer, Esq…Samantha J. Reviglio, Esq; Reno, NV 89511; Attorneys for Amicus Curiae, Honest Elections Project.” (Corona vs Cegavske, 5/4/2020)

Honest Elections Filed Amicus Brief in Ohio Opposing Attempts to Expand Vote By Mail Given Coronavirus. “This Court should not grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief. Doing so, so close in time before an election and after the State has already made massive, emergency changes to their election procedures, would wreak havoc among election administrators, who would have scant time and possibly very few resources to implement new procedures. This would not only result in strains on election administration, but also undoubtedly disenfranchise voters, or worse yet, provide disparate standards in some areas compared to others. The Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit have repudiated this kind of last-minute disruption of election administration.” (League of Women Voters of Ohio v. LaRose, 4/02/2020)

Honest Elections Project Filed Amicus Brief in TN Case Appealing Waiving of Excuse Requirement for Absentee Ballots. “Tennessee is one of sixteen states to encourage in-person voting by requiring voters to have a valid reason to vote absentee. Under Tennessee law, older voters, voters who are sick, and voters who will be absent on election day may already cast absentee ballots; all other voters can cast votes early, or in person on Election Day. Tennessee opted to avoid the sort of sweeping election changes that have led to serious voting problems elsewhere, including New Jersey and Washington, D.C., but activists including the ACLU sued seeking a judicial rewrite of state law.” (Honest Elections Project, 7/6/2020)

    • HEP’s Jason Snead: Choice Between Voting and Protecting One’s Health is a “False Choice” Pushed by Activists. “Voters do not need to choose between preserving their own health, or the health of our democracy, but that is exactly the false choice being pushed by the activists who brought this lawsuit. A hasty, court-imposed transition to all-mail elections opens the door to confusion, chaos, and malfeasance, as we have already seen this year,” said Jason Snead, executive director. “Tennessee law allows sick and elderly voters to vote absentee, and affords other voters options to vote early. For those choosing to vote on Election Day, the state has developed new procedures to protect the health of voters and poll workers” (Honest Elections Project, 7/6/2020)
    • Lawsuit Argued That Because Early and In-Person Voting Are Available, “The Right to Vote is Not at Stake Here.” “Tennessee’s excuse requirement governs only absentee voting. If voters have no excuse, they can still vote in person on election day or during the two-week early voting period. Because in-person voting remains available, “the right to vote is not ‘at stake’” here.” (Fisher v. Goins, 7/2/2020)
    • Counsel for Honest Elections Project: b> “William S. Consovoy, Cameron T. Norris and Jordan M. Call of CONSOVOY MCCARTHY (Fisher v. Goins, 7/2/2020)


Honest Elections Filed an Amicus Brief in Texas Lawsuit to Defend the GOP Repeal of Straight Ticket Voting. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court recently, defending the state of Texas’s duly enacted repeal of straight-ticket voting against yet another partisan lawsuit. Our amicus brief makes several key points: 1. The Constitution protects the rights of citizens against intentional racial discrimination. Congress has the power to enforce this protection by barring laws that deliberately discriminate…2. By the same token, the Constitution does not empower Congress to require states to make race central in crafting state law, including election law…3. Since Texas law clearly affords all voters the same right to vote, and Texas’s policy is the same as in 44 other states, its ban on straight-ticket voting clearly does not run afoul of this “categorical” test.” (Honest Elections Press Release, 4/21/2020)

      • Honest Elections Was Represented by the RNC Law Firms Holtzman Vogel PLLC and Consovoy McCarthy PLLC. “Respectfully submitted, Dallin B. Holt, Attorney in Charge… HOLTZMAN VOGEL JOSEFIAK TORCHINSKY PLLC…William S. Consovoy, Cameron T. Norris, CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC…Counsel for Honest Elections Project” (Amicus Brief, 4/17/2020)


Honest Elections Project Filed Brief Supporting Texas AG’s Challenge to Ruling Allowing All Voters to Request Absentee Ballots. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in the Texas Supreme Court supporting the Texas Attorney General’s request for the Court to order county officials to comply with state absentee ballot laws. Texas law allows people with a genuine illness or disability to vote absentee. However, the Texas Democratic Party sued Travis County seeking to compel the county to treat susceptibility to COVID-19 as a ‘disability’—in essence, to rewrite state law and permit any person to claim to be disabled and request an absentee ballot.” (Honest Elections Project, 5/19/2020)

Honest Elections Project Filed Amicus Brief in Virginia Witness Requirement Case. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court recently, defending Virginia’s duly-enacted witness requirements for absentee ballots. Jason Snead, executive director, made this statement: “Absentee ballots are inherently less secure than votes cast in person. Yet, due to the pandemic, more voters than ever before are going to rely on absentee voting. They deserve to know that the integrity of their votes will be guaranteed by the full measure of safeguards which our democracy demands. Unfortunately, activists and partisans on the left continue to view this pandemic as an opportunity to use the courts to score political victories that risk undermining the credibility of our elections.” (Honest Elections Project, 4/28/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Filed a Brief in Wisconsin’s Federal Voting Lawsuit. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court defending the state of Wisconsin’s duly enacted election laws against a legal challenge ahead of the state’s April-7 election. Multiple lawsuits have been filed in recent days seeking to compel myriad changes to Wisconsin law, including extending the deadline to receive mail-in ballots beyond the election, suspending absentee voter identification requirements, and removing the witness signature requirements on absentee ballots.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

LEONARD LEO DEEP DIVE

 

HONEST ELECTIONS PROJECT LITIGATION & LEGAL ACTIONS OVERVIEW

(AL, AZ, CO, FL, KY, MI, MN, NC, NV, OH, TX, VA, WI)

Honest Elections Filed Amicus Brief in Alabama in Defense of State and Against Lawsuit to Safeguard Voters During COVID-19 Crisis. HEP brief makes two arguments: “COVID-19 Cannot Make a Valid Election Law Invalid,” and “The Challenged Laws Impose Only Reasonable, Nondiscriminatory Voting Requirements on all Alabama Voters.” (People First of Alabama v. John Merrill, 5/26/2020)

    • Counsel For Honest Elections Project Was Listed As: Steven M. Brom and Bryan M. Taylor of BACHUS BROM & TAYLOR LLC (Alabama); and Tyler R. Green and Cameron T. Norris of CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC.” (People First of Alabama v. John Merrill, 5/26/2020)


The Honest Elections Project Submitted Supreme Court Brief in Arizona Case Arguing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act Should No Longer Prohibit Election Laws that Cause Racial Disparities. “At a minimum, this Court should construe Section 2 to ameliorate these constitutional infirmities. First, the Court should hold that Section 2 requires a disparate impact that is so substantial or significant as to give rise to an inference of intentional discrimination. Nearly every law will have some differential effect on different racial groups, and the Ninth Circuit’s “more than de minimis” approach makes it far too easy for a court to invalidate even neutral, common-sense election security measures. Second, the Court should hold that any racial disparities must have been caused by the challenged law; without this critical requirement, it is impossible to tell whether any alleged disparities were the result of the law at issue or unrelated social or economic conditions that are not attributable to state action. Without a proper causation element, a state could find itself liable under Section 2 for disparities it did nothing to create.” (Brnovich et al v DNC et al, page 12, 6/1/2020)

Honest Elections Sent Litigation NVRA Threats to CO, FL, MI, Alleging “Serious Problems with Voter Registration “WASHINGTON, DC – Voters in Colorado, Florida and Michigan today sent letters to election officials in all three states demanding that serious problems with voter registration records be addressed or lawsuits will be filed. The apparent irregularities were discovered through research conducted by the Honest Elections Project, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan elections watchdog organization. (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Filed an Amicus Brief in the Florida Voting Rights Case Concerning Former Felonies. “WASHINGTON, DC – The Honest Elections Project has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, stating that a three-judge panel of the court misapplied anti-discrimination law in the ongoing Florida felon voting case. The panel ruled that it’s a discriminatory policy for convicted felons to not have their voting rights reinstated until they pay back their monetary debts to the State of Florida. Honest Elections supports Florida’s appeal for review before the full Eleventh Circuit.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

In Order to Avoid Litigation, The Honest Elections Project Sent a Letter to Kentucky Governor Concerning His Ability to Suspend Elections. “To what extent, under the current state of emergency declared by the President of the United States and the Governor of Kentucky due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can the Governor supersede or suspend Kentucky law?… We hope that Kentucky will be able to avoid the litigation and the harm to voters that Ohio’s last minute changes created. To avoid repeating Ohio’s mistakes, the Honest Elections Project seeks clarification about the extent to which the Governor can supersede or suspend Kentucky’s duly enacted laws, beyond merely rescheduling the date of the election, particularly in light of the fact that Kentucky’s election statutes put the bipartisan State Board of Elections in charge of setting rules for rescheduled elections.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project (HEP) Sued Michigan SOS Claiming Violation of NVRA in 16 Counties with “Suspiciously High” Voter Registration Rates. “A voter filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson…and other officials, claiming that in at least 16 counties voter rolls have not been properly maintained and that this leaves them vulnerable to fraud in November’s election. Tony Daunt, a Republican active in his state and county parties, alleges that the Michigan voter registration rates in these counties are ‘suspiciously high’ because their voting records have not been cleaned out to remove ineligible voters, including those who have died, moved, or been convicted of felonies…The lawsuit cited data compiled by the Honest Elections Project.” (Fox News, 6/9/2020)

    • Honest Election Project Counsel: William S. Consovoy, Cameron T. Norris and Tiffany H. Bates of CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC; Jason Torchinsky of HOLTZMAN VOGEL JOSEFIAK TORCHINSKY PLLC. (Anthony Daunt v. Jocelyn Benson, 6/9/2020)


The Honest Elections Project Filed a Brief Opposing DSCC & DCCC in Minnesota Voting Case. “Washington, DC – Today, the Honest Elections Project filed a brief supporting the state of Minnesota against a partisan lawsuit seeking to overturn a state law that encourages competitive elections. Currently, Minnesota law mandates that major-party candidates be listed in reverse order based on how well their party performed in the last election. Now, the top Democratic political committees, the DSCC and the DCCC, along with two DFL voters, are challenging the law, although they supported it while in the minority.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)

Honest Elections Project Threatened North Carolina: “Clean Up Voter Rolls or Face Lawsuits.” “The Honest Elections Project sent a letter to North Carolina election officials demanding that serious problems with voter registration records be addressed or lawsuits will be filed…‘North Carolina has an incredible three-dozen counties where voter registration rates exceed 90 percent, and in some cases, 100 percent. In the last election in 2018, the nationwide registration rate according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 66.9 percent. That disparity is a clear sign these states aren’t maintaining accurate voter rolls,’ said Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project.” (Honest Elections, 5/5/2020)

    • RealClearPolitics Said Voters in Colorado, Florida, and Michigan Are Threatening to Sue States Over “Bloated Registration Rolls” Using Honest Elections Project “Research.” “Voters in three key presidential battleground states are threatening their election officials with lawsuits over bloated registration rolls. They are relying on research by a new watchdog group, the Honest Elections Project, which found that all three states — Colorado, Florida and Michigan — have multiple counties where voter registration rates exceed 90% of the adult population and in some cases exceed 100%.” (RealClearPolitics, 5/01/2020)


Honest Elections Project Appeared on State Propaganda Network OANN and Said HEP They Were Working With Voters to Potentially Bring NVRA “Rights of Action” Lawsuit in North Carolina. (4:30, JASON SNEAD) “So we worked with voters in North Carolina to send a letter this week alerting officials to what we had found. And under the federal law that we’re talking about, there is a right of action that they can sue in order to force compliance. We hope it doesn’t come to that, and we hope that North Carolina will clean up it’s rolls voluntarily, but that’s something that we’re going to consider as time goes forward.” (OANN.COM, 5/8/2020)

Honest Elections Project Filed Amicus Brief in Nevada Case Arguing Against Expanded In-Person Voting and Ballot Harvesting. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in state court recently, defending Nevada’s duly-enacted election laws, including crucial voter protections that prevent ballot harvesting and ensure the integrity of absentee votes. Jason Snead, executive director, made this statement: “Almost every day, the Democratic Party or liberal groups target a new state with a lawsuit intended to strike down common sense election laws. Their objectives are laid out in plain text: to automatically mail ballots, even to voters the state believes have died or moved away; to legalize fraud-prone vote harvesting; and to deny officials key tools that let them weed out improper or fraudulent ballots.” (Honest Elections Project, 5/4/2020)

    • Honest Elections Cited 2005 Carter Center Opposition to Third Party Ballot Collection. “In 2005, The Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, found the following: Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud. . . States therefore should reduce the risks of fraud and abuse in absentee voting by prohibiting “third-party” organizations, candidates, and political party activists from handling absentee ballots… The Carter-Baker Commission went on to make this formal recommendation: “State and local jurisdictions should prohibit a person from handling absentee ballots other than the voter.” (Corona vs Cegavske, 5/4/2020)
    • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Listed as Law Firm for Honest Elections Project in Nevada. ”BROWNSTEIN HYATT FARBER SCHRECK, LLP; Scott Scherer, Esq…Samantha J. Reviglio, Esq; Reno, NV 89511; Attorneys for Amicus Curiae, Honest Elections Project.” (Corona vs Cegavske, 5/4/2020)


Honest Elections Filed Amicus Brief in Ohio Opposing Attempts to Expand Vote By Mail Given Coronavirus. “This Court should not grant Plaintiffs’ requested relief. Doing so, so close in time before an election and after the State has already made massive, emergency changes to their election procedures, would wreak havoc among election administrators, who would have scant time and possibly very few resources to implement new procedures. This would not only result in strains on election administration, but also undoubtedly disenfranchise voters, or worse yet, provide disparate standards in some areas compared to others. The Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit have repudiated this kind of last-minute disruption of election administration.” (League of Women Voters of Ohio v. LaRose, 4/02/2020)

Honest Elections Filed an Amicus Brief in Texas Lawsuit to Defend the GOP Repeal of Straight Ticket Voting. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court recently, defending the state of Texas’s duly enacted repeal of straight-ticket voting against yet another partisan lawsuit. Our amicus brief makes several key points: 1. The Constitution protects the rights of citizens against intentional racial discrimination. Congress has the power to enforce this protection by barring laws that deliberately discriminate…2. By the same token, the Constitution does not empower Congress to require states to make race central in crafting state law, including election law…3. Since Texas law clearly affords all voters the same right to vote, and Texas’s policy is the same as in 44 other states, its ban on straight-ticket voting clearly does not run afoul of this “categorical” test.” (Honest Elections Press Release, 4/21/2020)

      • Honest Elections Was Represented by the RNC Law Firms Holtzman Vogel PLLC and Consovoy McCarthy PLLC. “Respectfully submitted, Dallin B. Holt, Attorney in Charge… HOLTZMAN VOGEL JOSEFIAK TORCHINSKY PLLC…William S. Consovoy, Cameron T. Norris, CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PLLC…Counsel for Honest Elections Project” (Amicus Brief, 4/17/2020)


Honest Elections Project Filed Brief Supporting Texas AG’s Challenge to Ruling Allowing All Voters to Request Absentee Ballots. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in the Texas Supreme Court supporting the Texas Attorney General’s request for the Court to order county officials to comply with state absentee ballot laws. Texas law allows people with a genuine illness or disability to vote absentee. However, the Texas Democratic Party sued Travis County seeking to compel the county to treat susceptibility to COVID-19 as a ‘disability’—in essence, to rewrite state law and permit any person to claim to be disabled and request an absentee ballot.” (Honest Elections Project, 5/19/2020)

Honest Elections Project Filed Amicus Brief in Virginia Witness Requirement Case. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court recently, defending Virginia’s duly-enacted witness requirements for absentee ballots. Jason Snead, executive director, made this statement: “Absentee ballots are inherently less secure than votes cast in person. Yet, due to the pandemic, more voters than ever before are going to rely on absentee voting. They deserve to know that the integrity of their votes will be guaranteed by the full measure of safeguards which our democracy demands. Unfortunately, activists and partisans on the left continue to view this pandemic as an opportunity to use the courts to score political victories that risk undermining the credibility of our elections.” (Honest Elections Project, 4/28/2020)

The Honest Elections Project Filed a Brief in Wisconsin’s Federal Voting Lawsuit. “The Honest Elections Project filed a brief in federal court defending the state of Wisconsin’s duly enacted election laws against a legal challenge ahead of the state’s April-7 election. Multiple lawsuits have been filed in recent days seeking to compel myriad changes to Wisconsin law, including extending the deadline to receive mail-in ballots beyond the election, suspending absentee voter identification requirements, and removing the witness signature requirements on absentee ballots.” (Honest Elections, Last Accessed: 4/13/2020)LEONARD LEO DEEP DIVE

INFLUENCE, ORGANIZATIONS AND KNOWN ASSOCIATES


UPBRINGING:

Leo’s Grandfather Was An Italian Immigrant Who Rose to Become an Executive at Brooks Brothers, and Leo Credits Him As An Influence. “His grandfather was a vice-president of Brooks Brothers, and he instilled in young Leonard a taste for the bella figura. Leo wears tailored suits, often with contrasting waistcoats, and a double-length gold fob attached to a 1935 train conductor’s pocket watch. (“The most accurate watch in the United States until the fifties,” he said.)” (New Yorker, 4/17/2017)

After His Father Died of Cancer, Leo Grew Up With His Mother and Stepfather In Central New Jersey. “Leo’s life has been shaped as much by Catholicism as by conservatism. He was born on Long Island, and his father died, of cancer, when he was a preschooler. When Leo was five, his mother got remarried, to an engineer, and the family moved to central New Jersey, where Leo spent most of his childhood.” (New Yorker, 4/17/2017)

By High School, Leo Had Already Built A Reputation For His Wealth, And His Classmates Called Him The “Moneybags Kid”. “Leo grew up in suburban New Jersey, where his high school yearbook lists his nickname as the “Moneybags kid” and shows a photograph of him holding a handful of cash.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

EDUCATION:

Leonard Leo Wrote His College Thesis On Originalism In The Constitution, Working Alongside His Classmate Ann Coulter. “ “how that affects our freedom,” he said. After taking Rabkin’s classes at Cornell, Leo applied to be a research assistant with the professor, and was ultimately awarded one of two research assistant positions. Ann Coulter, the conservative author and pundit, was the other. Rabkin would go on to supervise Leo’s senior honors thesis on originalism as applied to the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Ed Meese Shaped Leo’s Early Career After Leo Listened To His “Now-Historic Speech on Originalism” And It Helped “Crystallize [Leo’s] Views.” . “It was during this internship, Leo recalls, that he was first introduced to the Federalist Society, and solidified his views on the judiciary. Markman, Leo said, served as the president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Federalist Society Lawyers Division, and he would often take Leo to the chapter’s lunches at the Golden Palace restaurant in Chinatown. The first lunch Leo attended featured then-Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige. But the guest at the second lunch was then-Attorney General Ed Meese, who delivered a now-historic speech on originalism. “That speech had an enormous impact on my thinking and really helped to crystallize my views,” Leo said.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Leo Studied With Conservative Government Professors At Cornell, Then Went On To Intern for Sen. Orrin Hatch and Federal Appellate Judge A. Raymond Randolph. “Leo went to college at Cornell, where he studied with a group of conservative professors in the government department. That led to internships in Washington during Ronald Reagan’s Presidency—notably for Senator Orrin Hatch, who was then, as now, a member of the Judiciary Committee. Leo went on to law school, also at Cornell, after which he returned to Washington and clerked for a federal appellate judge, A. Raymond Randolph, on the D.C. Circuit.” (New Yorker, 4/17/2017)

CATHOLICISM:

Leonard Leo and Ann Corkery are Associated With A Hardline Catholic Order Called “Opus Dei”, Which Practices Self-Flagellation. “Working more behind the scenes is Ann Corkery, a Washington lawyer and fundraiser, who in the 1990s said she was a member of Opus Dei, the hardline Catholic order. Corkery defended the group’s practice of self-flagellation. “People don’t understand sacrifice, the whole idea of why anyone would inflict pain, because the modern notion is to avoid suffering,” she said. Corkery did not respond to emailed questions. Leo and his wife, Sally, have themselves donated money to a Washington-area school that states its “orientation and spiritual formation are entrusted to Opus Dei”, which has not previously been reported. Leo did not respond to calls and a spokesman did not respond to emailed questions.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)

Leo Serves On The Board of a Secretive Opus Dei Organization in DC Called The “Catholic Information Center”, Where Ultra-Conservative Catholics Like AG Barr Are Known To Gather. Leo has had a long history of involvement with right-wing Catholic organizations. For instance, he serves on the board of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, an outpost of the secretive and powerful Opus Dei (which means “work of God” in Latin), a 91-year-old organization known as the church’s “Holy mafia,” which seeks to promote far-right politics and oppose any signs of creeping liberalism. They continue to celebrate the Latin Mass, in defiance of the work of Pope John XXIII. (The author Dan Brown highlighted Opus Dei members’ practice of mortification of the flesh in his book, The Da Vinci Code.) Membership to Opus Dei is closely guarded, but the late Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia was long rumored to have been a part of the organization. The DC center is the meeting place of ultra-conservative Catholics seeking power in the nation’s capital. Both Attorney General William Barr and Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone are former board members. (Mother Jones, 11/8/2019)

Leo Had Close Ties to the Bush Administration and Served As the Catholic Outreach Director on the ‘04 Bush Campaign. “The most aggressive efforts are being waged in Ohio, where organizer Leonard Leo — the former Catholic outreach director for the 2004 George W. Bush campaign — and a group called The Catholic Association is trying to move the needle toward Mitt Romney… But Leo, who Bush appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and is on the board of The Catholic Association, argues those who regularly attend Mass are more likely to swing to the right and are motivated by concern that the church is being adversely affected by the Obama administration.” (Politico, 10/15/2012)

By 2005, Leo Had Transitioned Into a Role As the Chairman of Catholic Outreach For the RNC. “But with a series of personal testimonials about Judge Roberts, his legal work, his Roman Catholic faith, and his wife’s public opposition to abortion, two well-connected Christian conservative lawyers — Leonard Leo, chairman of Catholic outreach for the Republican Party, and Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of an evangelical Protestant legal center founded by Pat Robertson — gradually won over most social conservatives to nearly unanimous support, even convincing them that the lack of a paper trail was an asset that made Judge Roberts harder to attack.” (New York Times, 7/22/2005)

Leo’s Catholic Outreach Efforts are Being Sponsored by “Donors Who Care About the State Of Our Country.“The organization has also turned to the Internet, using specifically tailored web ads and Facebook — a platform that allows advertising based on users self-identified location, religion and political affiliation. The group is also using Facebook to target specific users, not just those who are part of a group and in a specific location, to try to sway their vote. The organization isn’t affiliated with the Catholic Church and is being sponsored through “donors who care about the state of our country,” Leo said.” (Politico, 10/15/2012)

Leo Was Appointed by George Bush to Three Terms on the US. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Won the 2009 Bradley Foundation Prize. “Leonard was appointed by President George W. Bush to three terms to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom as chairman. He was also a U.S. Delegate to the UN Council and UN Commission on Human Rights during the Bush Administration. Leonard was the recipient of the 2009 Bradley Prize, along with the other founders and directors of the Federalist Society, for his work in advancing freedom and the rule of law.” (Federalist Society, Last Accessed: 5/15/2020)

In 2012, Leo Created Catholic Organizations to Launch Advocacy Campaigns Against Same-Sex Marriage, the ACA, and Roe v. Wade. “In 2012, Leo joined the boards of the nonprofit Catholic Association and an affiliated charity, the Catholic Association Foundation. They funded campaigns to rally Catholic voters and stop states from recognizing same-sex marriage. The two Catholic nonprofits launched a third organization called Catholic Voices. Its stated mission was to train Catholic lay members to advocate for religious and conservative causes, some of whom later wrote letters for publication in major newspapers condemning the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo and the Corkerys Manage the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. “Ann and Neil Corkery help run a network of nonprofit organizations like Catholic Voices USA, an organization that promotes the church’s views. They also help Mr. Leo in managing the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, tax records show.” (New York Times, 3/18/2017)

Leo Sits On the Board of the Catholic University of America. “Leo also sits on the board of trustees for the Catholic University of America and is involved with helping students at his alma mater, Cornell Law School, secure federal court clerkships.” (Buzzfeed News, 11/20/2017)

ABORTION:

“No One Has Been More Dedicated to the Enterprise of Building a Supreme Court that Will Overturn Roe v Wade than the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo.” “No one has been more dedicated to the enterprise of building a supreme court that will overturn Roe v Wade than the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo,” Ed Whelan, a conservative legal activist and commentator, in 2016.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)

Leonard Leo Called Abortion “An Act of Force” and “A Threat to Human Life.” Said the “Vast Majority of Abortions are a Consequence of Voluntary, Consensual Sexual Encounters. “The Leos have six other children, including an eight-year-old son who also has spina bifida. A friend of Leo’s said, “Leonard comes to his pro-life views out of a place of incredible sincerity. They always treated Margaret throughout her life like any other child.” According to Leo, the vast majority of abortions are a consequence of voluntary, consensual sexual encounters, an opinion that influences his view of the procedure.“We can have a debate about abortion,” he told me. “It’s a very simple one for me. It’s an act of force. It’s a threat to human life. It’s just that simple.”” (New Yorker, 4/17/2017)

Leo’s First Child, Margaret, Was Born With Spina Bifida But Died When She Was Fourteen; Leo Credits Her For His Religiosity.“Margaret’s example deepened Leo’s Catholic faith. She encouraged him to go to daily Mass, though he found keeping up attendance difficult. During a family vacation in 2007, when Margaret was fourteen, Leonard promised her that he would resume the practice. On the morning after they returned, Leo got up early to go to Mass. He looked in on Margaret. Then, as he was walking down the hall, she started gasping for breath. She died shortly afterward. “I will always think that she did her job,” Leo told me. “She did her job.”” (New Yorker, 4/17/2017)

THE SUPREME COURT: LEONARD LEO HELPED THE FIVE CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS GAIN CONFIRMATION

The Bush White House Considered Leo The Coordinator of “All Outside Coalition Activity Regarding Judicial Nominations.” “Leo told The Post that from the accounts of the calls, “it appears I was conveying the widely shared belief among conservatives that discriminating on the basis of race is always wrong and inconsistent with the dignity and worth of every person.” Leo came to be known in the White House as coordinator of “all outside coalition activity regarding judicial nominations,” according to a 2003 email by a White House aide to Kavanaugh and others.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo’s Work On Confirming Justices In the 2000’s Officially Happened While He Was On Leave From the Federalist Society, But His Compensation There Jumped by 50% After His Work Confirming Roberts and Alito. “In the interview with The Post, Leo said he took time off from the Federalist Society — a charity that says it does not endorse specific nominees — during the nomination fights in 2005 and 2006. The group’s tax filings show that his compensation in those two years jumped by nearly 50 percent, to about $328,000 annually. Leo did not respond to a question about how his compensation was affected by his time off. A spokesman for the Federalist Society said Leo’s pay went up — despite the time off — because of the organization’s “extraordinary revenue growth.” Back at the Federalist Society the following year, his compensation was $419,000.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leonard Leo on the Political Importance of Judicial Nominees: The Conservative Movement Will “Turn Even On Their Own President” Over a Wrong Supreme Court Nomination. “And that was a real lesson both for Leo and for the Republican Party, which was that the conservative movement cares so much about these Supreme Court appointments that they will turn even on their own president, as they turned on George W. Bush, because he didn’t nominate a true conservative. And heading into the first Republican president since George W. Bush, that was the political environment that Leo both recognized and helped create, which is that we the conservative movement care about this, we expect a nominee who will please us and that has to be a priority. And that’s something Donald Trump understood, which is why he cultivated Leo. And it’s something that Trump delivered on with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.” (NPR, 4/12/2017)

CLARENCE THOMAS:

Leo Became Close Friends With Clarence Thomas After His Legal Clerkship, and His First Supreme Court Judicial Nomination Campaign Was Conducted On Thomas’ Behalf. “In 1990, Leo became a clerk for a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Washington, D.C., where he met Clarence Thomas, then an appellate judge. The two became close friends. After his clerkship, Leo joined the Federalist Society as one of its first paid employees. But he delayed the start date to help Thomas through his contentious confirmation process for the Supreme Court.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Clarence Thomas Still Keeps Drawings from Leonard’s Daughter Margaret Under Glass on His Desk. “In the meantime, he had married his high-school sweetheart, Sally Schroeder. In 1992, they had their first child, Margaret, who was born with spina bifida, which confined her to a wheelchair and led to other medical complications. “She was a real miracle, despite having a really serious handicap, and many other issues, too,” Leo said. “She was extraordinarily vivacious, talented, simple. She had a great way with people.” Clarence Thomas, Leo said, still keeps her drawings under glass on his desk. (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Clarence Thomas Called Leo’s Daughter His “Best Friend.” “Justice Clarence Thomas has sometimes said Margaret is his best friend, Leo said, and Thomas keeps two of Margaret’s drawings under the glass on his desk. “She had this way about her that just drew people to her,” Leo said. “She would have no compunction going up to justices, the president, whoever, and having a conversation.”” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

JOHN ROBERTS AND SAMUEL ALITO:

The “Four Horsemen” Was a Group Formed with Leo, Jay Sekulow, Boyden Gray and Ed Meese While Confirming Bush Nominees. Then, after George W. Bush took office, Leo formed one-quarter of the “Four Horsemen” with Meese, George H.W. Bush’s White House counsel Boyden Gray, and American Center for Law and Justice counsel Jay Sekulow. Together, the four assisted the 43rd president to ensure his nominations to the Supreme Court were confirmed. (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Leo Vouched For Roberts During His Confirmation Hearings On the Basis Of Personal Relationship, Developed In Legal, Catholic, and Operatic Appreciation Circles. “When conservatives expressed doubts, Mr. Leo said, “I would say, ‘I know the man.”‘ Mr. Sekulow agreed, saying, “I have known John Roberts for 17 years. When I talk about John Roberts with the groups, it is not theoretical, it is based on firsthand, direct experience. He and I have argued cases together before the Supreme Court — you can’t get more direct than that.”…. Mr. Leo said he, too, had known Judge Roberts for nearly 15 years in legal and Catholic circles and at the opera.” (New York Times, 7/22/2005)

Leo’s Personal Connection With Alito Was a Key Factor In His selection As A Supreme Court Nominee. He first gained attention in 2005 when he played a key role in elevating a little-known judge from New Jersey. Alito had served on the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for 15 years and had compiled a record as a smart and reliable conservative. Though Alito had served as a lawyer in the Reagan administration, he was not a familiar name to many in the Washington legal community. He was, however, known and admired by Leo…Four days later, he announced he was nominating Alito to the Supreme Court. In the 12 years since then, Alito has been a steady, predictable conservative. When the court has been split, he has not joined with the liberals in any case of significance. (Los Angeles Times, 7/6/2018)

To Confirm Justices Roberts and Alito, Leo Utilized Telemarketing and Christian Radio Advertisements, Among Other Tools. “In 2005 and 2006, Leo served as the leader of the campaigns supporting Supreme Court nominees John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. He and other members of an advocacy coalition spent about $15 million in donations from undisclosed donors on ads, telemarketing and the mobilization of “grass roots” groups, Leo later told a Federalist Society chapter at the University of Virginia. They conducted polls to help craft the most persuasive messages and arranged dozens of “background” briefings for reporters. One radio spot paid for by JCN in Arkansas featured a local minister who warned listeners that liberals wanted to curb religious freedom, including Christmas celebrations. “Now these extremist groups want our senators to vote against Judge Alito for the United States Supreme Court,” the ad said.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

NEIL GORSUCH AND BRETT KAVANAUGH:

Gorsuch Was Placed on Trump’s Supreme Court Pick List Because Leo Told Trump To Put Him There. “And last spring, when Donald Trump was on the brink of clinching the Republican nomination, Don McGahn, who later became the White House counsel, called up Leo and said, Trump wants to meet with you. And Trump said to him, look, I want to prove to the conservative movement that I’m one of you. So I want you, Leonard Leo, to make a list of people that I should consider nominating to the Supreme Court for the seat that was vacant at that point – the seat that was being held open by Mitch McConnell, you know, not giving Merrick Garland a hearing or a vote – and make a list of conservative judges who would persuade the conservative movement how serious I am about appointing a conservative to the Supreme Court. And Leo did. And in May, and in the fall, he released two different lists, each of 10 judges, and Neil Gorsuch was one of them. He was on the second list. And this building of a list, this creation of a list, was something that had never been done before by a presidential candidate. And it was something…” (NPR, 4/12/2017)

Leo Did Not Want Kavanaugh Nominated Because he Didn’t Believe Kavanaugh was Extreme Enough–Called him too “Bushie.” “When candidate Donald Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees during the 2016 presidential campaign — a list prepared by Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society — Kavanaugh’s name was not on it. After Trump’s election, Kennedy made clear to the new president that if he were to retire, he would like to see his former law clerk Kavanaugh succeed him. This caused bitter disagreement between the White House and Leo, whose Federalist friends worried that Kavanaugh was too much of a “Bushie” and might not fulfill their hard-line right-wing ambitions. After a struggle in the White House, Trump and his advisers rejected Leo’s concerns and settled on Kavanaugh, delivering on Kennedy’s ambition.” (Washington Post, 11/27/2019)

However, Leo and Kavanaugh Were Also Reported To Be “Longtime Personal Friends.” “They include Federalist Society executive director Leonard Leo, Ethics and Public Policy Center President Ed Whelan and White House counsel Don McGahn, all of whom were longtime personal friends of the judge before Trump tapped him to replace outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy in July. All three personally attested not only to Kavanaugh’s legal chops but to his character as well.” (Politico, 8/25/2018)

Leo Had Known Kavanaugh Since Law School. During a Federalist Society regional conference held at Cornell, Leo met Alex Azar, now Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services, and Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who Trump added in November to his list of Supreme Court contenders, as well as the Federalist Society’s top officials. (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Leo Was Involved With the Spreading Of Intentional Disinformation About Dr. Ford During the Kavanaugh Hearings. “As Marcus reports, one of the many low points of the proceedings was when Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative lawyer, working “hand in glove with Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society’s public relations firm,” tweeted a series of blatantly false accusations that someone other than Kavanaugh had committed the assault on Ford.” (Washington Post, 11/27/2019)

Leo Put His Personal Reputation with the White House on the Line to Confirm Kavanaugh. Television Ads Were Once Again A Key Part of the Strategy. “Leo and Whelan have also worked hand in hand with an affiliated organization, the Judicial Crisis Network, on the communications effort promoting Kavanaugh’s nomination. That effort has involved several nationwide television ads on Kavanaugh’s behalf — and before that, on behalf of now-Justice Neil Gorsuch. To fund the effort, Leo has raised upward of $15 million from conservative donors — donors who might be enraged if Kavanaugh goes down in flames. Said a source familiar with the effort: “I think Leonard’s entire relationship with the White House is on the line.”” (Politico, 8/25/2018)

Federalist Society EVP and Chairman, Leonard Leo, and Justin Clark Were Both Tapped to Spearhead the White House Kavanaugh “War Room” in 2018 “such as Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society and assisting McGahn, the officials said…With a showdown looming, the White House also announced Monday that spokesman Raj Shah is taking a leave of absence from his position to work full time on overseeing the communications effort associated with the Supreme Court pick…Informally called the “war room,” the group of Trump officials is expected to work closely with congressional Republicans in the coming weeks. Shah, who serves as principal deputy press secretary under Sanders, “will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies,” Sanders said in a statement, adding that Justin Clark, in his position as director of the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee outreach with key constituencies, coalitions, grass-roots organizations and allies.” (Washington Post, 7/2/2018)

FEDERALIST SOCIETY:

Leo Founded An Early Chapter of the Federalist Society in Law School “He attended Cornell as an undergraduate and law student and founded an early chapter of the Federalist Society. His conservative values stood out. When a classmate protesting apartheid in South Africa threw a chocolate cream pie into the face of the university’s president, Leo expressed outrage in a letter to the student newspaper. “Although some will dismiss Tuesday as only a pie-throwing incident, it is representative of a more hostile form of expression that has become more common,” he wrote.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo Began Working At the Federalist Society Immediately After His First Legal Clerkship. “During the second half of his clerkship with Randolph, Leo began looking for jobs at law firms in Washington. But the Federalist Society’s Lawyers Division at that time hadn’t been doing as well as anticipated, so the organization approached Leo and asked him to run the operation. The idea was for him to lead the division for a few years to try to turn it around, and if it wasn’t successful, the Federalist Society would shutter it. Leo wanted in.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Leo’s Work In All His Nonprofit and Judicial Ventures Were Nominally Separated From His Work At the Federalist Society, As He Has Taken Many Leaves of Absence During His Times Working On Them. “Whenever Leo advises Trump or sets up a dark money front group, he takes a leave of absence from the Federalist Society. Thus, anyone who suggests that the Federalist Society itself participates in the judicial nomination process will receive a snitty letter insisting that Leo is acting as a free agent. This fiction is beyond comical. Through his work with the Federalist Society, Leo screens potential nominees and woos likely donors. Then, as a putative freelancer, he suggests nominees to Trump and uses donor cash to push them through the Senate. Leo could not be a Washington power broker if he were not simultaneously the liege of the Federalist Society.” (Slate, 11/18/2019)

Leo Stepped Down As Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society For 2020 Ventures“In order to join the venture, Leo is stepping down from his role as vice president of the Federalist Society, which is the foremost conservative legal group. He will, however, maintain his role as co-chairman of the organization’s board. In that capacity, Leo will still be involved in things like the group’s educational work, the individual associated with the new group said. Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who follows judicial nominations, said Leo’s move could be due in part to the Federalist Society’s position that it doesn’t get involved in politics. “My impression was that because the Federalist Society says it doesn’t get involved in elections, it would go against that mandate for the Federalist society itself to basically start running campaign ads,” Wheeler said.” (Bloomberg Law, 1/7/2020)

LEONARD LEO CONTROVERSIES

George Mason Law School:

According to BuzzFeed, Justice Scalia was a Major Influence on Leo and Leo Helped Secure $20 Million for George Mason University to Rename Its Law School After Scalia.“Leo earned a law degree from Cornell Law School in 1989, and clerked for a federal appeals judge, but he has spent most of his career working for the Federalist Society. He said Scalia became a major influence for him starting in law school, and he came to believe that the judiciary was “essential” to enforcing limits on government power, which he saw as necessary to preserving “the dignity and worth of the individual human being.”… When George Mason University announced in March 2016 that it would rename its law school after Scalia, it noted in a press release that Leo had connected the school with an anonymous donor who pledged $20 million.” (Buzzfeed News, 11/20/2017)

Leo Said He Was Responsible For Ensuring That George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School Remains Committed To “Intellectual Diversity.” “The law school has a reputation as being one of the most conservative in the country; the Princeton Review this year ranked Antonin Scalia Law School number five in terms of most conservative student body, based on a student survey. State and university records obtained through a public records request by a group of George Mason alumni and students and provided to BuzzFeed News show that Leo is the president of a third-party beneficiary called BH Fund in charge of enforcing the donor agreement with the law school. He explained that means he is “responsible for making sure that the law school remains true to its principles over the course of the gift.” “Those principles are not all that different from what you would expect from any academic institution: a commitment to academic freedom and a due respect for intellectual diversity and the freedom of expression. And in particular a commitment to excellence,” Leo said.” (Buzzfeed News, 11/20/2017)

Leo May Have Influenced Hiring and Admissions at the Law School as Well.“It appears from these emails that Leo functioned as a kind of emissary between the Kochs and the university. In 2015, the dean of GMU’s law school, Henry N. Butler, sent Leo his five-year plan. Leo promptly set up a call to discuss “a number of questions,” after which Butler thanked him for his “wise counsel.” On Monday, GMU President Ángel Cabrera wrote in an email to faculty that he had ordered an investigation into “problematic gift agreements” that gave Leo and the Kochs excessive influence over the school. It appears that a number of agreements between the Kochs and GMU gave the donors an express right to participate in faculty selection and evaluation…”(Slate, 5/2/2018)

Scott Pruitt:

NYT: Leo Enjoyed a “Privileged Status at the E.P.A.s“Like Mr. Smotkin, Mr. Leo has enjoyed privileged status at the E.P.A., according to a former agency official, who said that requests made by them were treated as a priority. If either called Mr. Pruitt’s office “and asked for something, we did it, it doesn’t matter what it was,” said the former official, who requested anonymity for fear of running afoul of Mr. Leo, who is powerful among conservatives in Washington.” (New York Times, 5/1/2018)

Pruitt Used An EPA Trip To Give Leo a Free, High-Access Trip To The Vatican Including A “Private Mass”. “On Mr. Pruitt’s other foreign trip as E.P.A. administrator — to Italy in June — he also granted unusual access to a friend, Leonard A. Leo, who heads a conservative judicial group, the Federalist Society, according to three people involved in that trip. Mr. Leo was involved in some aspects of planning the trip and also joined Mr. Pruitt during a visit to the Vatican for a private Mass…. Mr. Leo also joined Mr. Pruitt and his top aides at a top restaurant in Rome, where the bill for the meal totaled several hundred dollars per participant, according to one of the officials. The official said that Mr. Leo traveled with Mr. Pruitt in his motorcade to the Vatican and to the restaurant over the objections of Mr. Pruitt’s aides, according to the official.” (New York Times, 5/1/2018)

Leo Also Controversially Hired Pruitt’s Wife At The Judicial Crisis Network. “One of the many controversies Pruitt dealt with during his 17-month EPA tenure involved the revelation his wife had secured a position with JCN as a temporary contractor. JCN reportedly received her resume from Leo, who has helped raise much of the Wellspring Committee’s cash, according to McClatchy.” (OpenSecrets News, 5/17/2019)

LEONARD LEO’S ASSOCIATES

Robin Arkley II

Robin Arkley II Is A Wealthy California Businessman Who Provided Seed Money and Early Networking For Judicial Crisis Network. “Robin Arkley, the president and CEO of Security National Corp. who had tapped Corkery to be his political liaison and senior advisor, became a key underwriter of JCN’s operations, to the tune of the high six or low seven figures, sources say. The pair went to some of the early fundraising and policy retreats held by the Kochs — events that now draw a glittering cast of wealthy allies and conservative stars to raise millions for the brothers’ network of politically active groups. Arkley was also a financial backer of the Federalist Society. “Arkley helped put Ann in play” as a liaison to funding for advocacy groups on the right, said one conservative.” (OpenSecrets News, 3/23/2015)

Mother Jones Called Arkley a “Foreclosure King” and Said He Previously Helped Bankroll Effort to Flip Democratic Senate Seat“The group reportedly launched with startup money from California foreclosure king Robin Arkley II, a wealthy conservative who helped bankroll the effort to unseat former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle (D).” (Mother Jones, 3/19/2016)

Arkley Praised Hurricane Katrina As “Saint Katrina” And Encouraged White People to Focus On Voting For White Candidates. He Has Also Encouraged the Expulsion of Homeless People From His Home of Eureka, California. “Arkley these days makes appearances as a pundit on a local radio talkshow, where he has complained of African Americans having children out of wedlock and called for homeless people to be expelled from Eureka. He referred to the 2005 hurricane in Louisiana as “Saint Katrina” because it provided an “unbelievable stimulus” to the construction industry. He also said that, given the strength of support for Obama among minorities, the notion that white people should vote for white candidates is “something we really need to explore”. Arkley did not respond to emailed questions.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)

Jonathan Bunch

Bunch Now Works As the President of CRC Advisors. Jonathan Bunch is the President at CRC Advisors. (LinkedIn, Last Accessed: 5/20/2020)

Jonathan Bunch Is the Former Vice President of the Federalist Society. “Jonathan Bunch is the former Vice President and Director of External Relations for the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Jonathan was responsible for a broad range of strategic, programming, and media relations decisions that were integral to the Society’s mission. In addition to his work for the Society, Jonathan regularly advised other organizations and public officials on matters of legal policy and judicial selection. Before joining the Society, Jonathan ran a 501c4 in Missouri, where he had served on the staff of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt and as a law clerk for The Honorable Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr. on the Supreme Court of Missouri. Jonathan is a graduate of John Brown University and the University of Missouri School of Law. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Amanda, and their four children.” (Federalist Society, Last Accessed: 5/15/2020)

Daniel Casey

Casey Was Listed As The President of The Honest Election/ Judicial Education Project on Its 2016 and 2017 IRS Filings. (Internal Revenue Service, 20162017)

Daniel Casey, The One-Time President of JCN, Was A “Crucial Player” In The Bork Confirmation Fight, And Is An Extremely Devout Catholic. “Today, the president of JCN is not a public figure like Marx but a player so behind-the-scenes as to barely leave a public trace. But Daniel Casey, a public-relations, political, and “crisis” consultant, is a veteran of the Bork confirmation battle—a fight that conservatives painfully lost, triggering the scorched-earth organizing JCN spearheads today. Then the executive director of the American Conservative Union, Casey was “a crucial player” in the Bork fight, said Patrick McGuigan, who worked then for the Free Congress Foundation, a political advocacy group founded by religious-right architect Paul Weyrich that helped push the GOP to the right. The dust jacket of Ninth Justice, a book McGuigan wrote with Weyrich’s daughter Dawn, detailing each move and countermove in the Bork fight, describes McGuigan and Casey as “intensely Republican, devout Catholics, ardent admirers of the nominee—who understood from the first moment of the battle that they were involved in the most significant political confrontation of their lives.” ” (The Nation, 9/5/2018)

Casey’s Specialty Was Hyper-Targeted Messaging Campaigns, Targeted At The Neighborhood And Precinct Level. “He said that at the time, there was “insufficient organization of ideas and messaging on the conservative side of things compared to the left side.” Casey’s forte, said McGuigan, was “neighborhood by neighborhood, precinct by precinct, household by household organization patterned after the labor unions, but on the conservative end of the spectrum instead. I think that’s what Dan was good at.” (Casey declined to be interviewed for this article, referring interview requests to Peter Robbio at CRC, who did not respond.)” (The Nation, 9/5/2018)

Casey Played Key Leadership Roles In Several of Leo’s Nonprofits, Both Judicial and Catholic. “Three decades later, Casey is the president of the moneyed advocacy organizations JCN and the related Judicial Education Project, as well as of Catholic Voices. He is also treasurer and director of the Catholic Association Foundation and the Catholic Association.” (The Nation, 9/5/2018)

Casey Was Paid By the Federalist Society, Not by His Nonprofits.“But one nonprofit that supports conservative judicial nominees, the Judicial Crisis Network, has offices on the same hallway as the Federalist Society. JCN’s president, Daniel Casey, is not paid by his group, nor is he paid by three other nonprofits he helps lead. But he has received more than $1.5 million from the Federalist Society over nine years for media training through a firm based at his home.” (ABA Journal, 5/23/2019)

Ann Corkery

Ann Corkery Was The President of the Wellspring Committee. “Wellspring’s president is Ann Corkery, an active figure within the social conservative movement. Over the years, she has been involved with the National Organization for Marriage, Catholic League and other groups working on social issues.” (WNYC, 11/6/2013)

      • Corkery Was Also Instrumental In Founding JCN. “Ann Corkery helped form JCN and Neil formerly served as its treasurer.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)
      • Corkery Had Previous Connections to Robert Arkley, Having Worked As His Senior Advisor. “Robin Arkley, the president and CEO of Security National Corp. who had tapped Corkery to be his political liaison and senior advisor, became a key underwriter of JCN’s operations, to the tune of the high six or low seven figures, sources say. The pair went to some of the early fundraising and policy retreats held by the Kochs — events that now draw a glittering cast of wealthy allies and conservative stars to raise millions for the brothers’ network of politically active groups. Arkley was also a financial backer of the Federalist Society. “Arkley helped put Ann in play” as a liaison to funding for advocacy groups on the right, said one conservative.” (OpenSecrets News, 3/23/2015)
    • Corkery Was Also a Known Proponent of Opus Dei In the 1990s. “Working more behind the scenes is Ann Corkery, a Washington lawyer and fundraiser, who in the 1990s said she was a member of Opus Dei, the hardline Catholic order. Corkery defended the group’s practice of self-flagellation. “People don’t understand sacrifice, the whole idea of why anyone would inflict pain, because the modern notion is to avoid suffering,” she said. Corkery did not respond to emailed questions.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)


A. Corkery Official Biography On Her Law Firm’s Website Detailed Her Previous Postings At the State Department And the UN. “Ms. Corkery received her J.D. from The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. After law school, Ms. Corkery clerked for the Honorable Eric Bruggink at the Court of Federal Claims. She was an editor at the New York Law Journal and also served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of State and a delegate to the UN General Assembly and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.” (Stein Mitchell Beato & Missner LLP, Last Accessed: 5/15/2020)

Neil Corkery

Neil Is Currently the Treasurer of PILF. “Neil Corkery, Treasurer, Shawna Powell, Secretary” (Public Interest Legal Foundation, Last Accessed: 5/20/2020)

Neil Corkery Is Ann Corkery’s Husband And Worked With Her In Leading Wellspring. “Corkery and her husband, Neil, have taken turns as president of the Wellspring Committee, a Virginia-based non-profit that channels funds to the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), which provides the campaign’s sharp edge.” (The Guardian, 7/6/2018)

Neil and Ann Were Involved In Launching Catholic Voices and the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Alongside Leo. “Ann and Neil Corkery help run a network of nonprofit organizations like Catholic Voices USA, an organization that promotes the church’s views. They also help Mr. Leo in managing the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, tax records show.” (New York Times, 3/18/2017)

Neil Is Also Involved With Christian Relief Work In South Sudan Through The Sudan Relief Fund. “Neil has served as the President of the Board of Directors of Sudan Relief Fund since 2013. Prior to that he served for eight years as Executive Director of SRF. During his long service to SRF, Neil has traveled frequently and extensively to South Sudan… Neil has also built effective partnerships with numerous groups working in the country, especially: Solidarity with South Sudan; Aid to the Church in Need; Catholic Medical Missionary Board; and various religious congregations working in the field, such as the Comboni Missionaries, the Jesuits, the Congregation of Christian Brothers, the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), and various Franciscan communities.” (Sudan Relief Fund, Last Accessed: 5/8/2020)

Neil Was The Treasurer of JCN, But Drew Paychecks From Several Other Organizations While He Worked There, Including From Catholic Voices and The Sudan Relief Fund. “In fact, Wellspring and JCN are the tip of a nonprofit iceberg when it comes to the Corkery family. In 2012, tax records show that Neil Corkery was not only treasurer of JCN, president of its allied Judicial Education Project, and executive director of a charity called the Sudan Relief Fund, all of which paid him salaries; but he also drew paychecks from at least four other organizations: the anti-gay union National Organization for Marriage, ActRight Action, the Catholic Association Foundation, and Catholic Voices. His total earnings were almost $450,000, and his weekly workload was 105 hours in the first half of the year, the groups’ IRS filings show, before dropping back to a mere 80.” (OpenSecrets News, 3/23/2015)

Neil Was An Opus Dei Member When He Met Ann, But He Eventually Left“Corkery, 30, has a law degree and a family. She stopped practicing law to raise her two young children. She was skeptical about Opus Dei before she became a member. “But everyone I met in Opus Dei, I loved,” she said. Including her husband, Neil, who was an Opus Dei member when they met. “My husband really encouraged me, although he himself left Opus Dei,” Ann Corkery said. “But he was never ostracized when he left.” Neil Corkery found Opus Dei to be too structured. “I didn’t think it was necessary to go through all of the requirements,” he said. But he said the organization has added a positive dimension to his marriage.” (South Florida Sun Sentinel, 5/25/1990)

Boyden Gray

Gray Was One of Bush’s “Four Horsemen”. “Then, after George W. Bush took office, Leo formed one-quarter of the “Four Horsemen” with Meese, George H.W. Bush’s White House counsel Boyden Gray, and American Center for Law and Justice counsel Jay Sekulow. Together, the four assisted the 43rd president to ensure his nominations to the Supreme Court were confirmed.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Boyden Gray Was A Longtime White House Counsel To Republican Presidents. “Mr. Gray worked in the White House for twelve years, first as counsel to the Vice President during the Reagan administration and then as White House Counsel to President George H.W. Bush. In the Reagan administration, he was Counsel to the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief, for which he wrote the original Executive Order 12291 requiring cost-benefit analysis and White House review of regulations (later renumbered as current EO 12866). In the George H.W. Bush Administration, Mr. Gray was in charge of judicial selection and was also instrumental in the enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and a cap-and-trade system for acid rain emissions. In 1993, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal. Under President George W. Bush, Mr. Gray was U.S. Ambassador to the European Union and U.S. Special Envoy to Europe for Eurasian Energy.” (Boyden Gray & Associates, Last Accessed: 5/8/2020)

Ed Meese

Meese Was One of Bush’s “Four Horsemen”. “Then, after George W. Bush took office, Leo formed one-quarter of the “Four Horsemen” with Meese, George H.W. Bush’s White House counsel Boyden Gray, and American Center for Law and Justice counsel Jay Sekulow. Together, the four assisted the 43rd president to ensure his nominations to the Supreme Court were confirmed.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Meese Was Best-Known For His Time As Reagan’s Attorney General And His Other Affiliations With the Reagan Administration. “In the 30 years since he resigned under fire as Reagan’s second attorney general, Meese has been associated with many of the leading conservative think tanks and foundations – including the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institution. But at 87, his place in history still depends on his personal relationship with the former Hollywood actor who became the nation’s 40th president…” (NPR, 10/8/2019)

Meese Also Served As Frequent Ambassador to Evangelicals and Other Conservatives. “When Reagan became president, Meese ran the transition team and then became part of a triumvirate running the White House. His title was Counselor to the President, with full Cabinet rank and membership on the National Security Council. He also served as a frequent ambassador to evangelicals and other conservatives on social issues.” (NPR, 10/8/2019)

Meese Was Involved In A Iran-Contra Affair, Scandals in Iraq and Jordan, and Other Unethical Controversies As Reagan’s Attorney General. “Meese was accused of unethical conduct in office at the time, and a report by the onetime Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox cited him for “blindness to the abuse of position…Further allegations followed. He was investigated for his role in helping the Bechtel Corp. build a pipeline from Iraq to Jordan. His actions on behalf of the Wedtech Corp. were also the subject of an independent counsel’s probe. Although never indicted for anything, Meese resigned as attorney general when the independent counsel’s critical report was filed in 1988. He also was in the middle of the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal involving weapons sales to Iran and then the money from those sales was used to fund anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua.” (NPR, 10/8/2019)

After Leaving the Reagan Administration, Meese Settled At the Heritage Foundation For The Next 25 Years. “Edwin Meese III, the prominent conservative leader, thinker and elder statesman, continues a quarter-century formal association with The Heritage Foundation as the leading think tank’s Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus.” (The Heritage Foundation, Last Accessed: 5/8/2020)

Greg Mueller

Mueller Is Leo’s Business Partner For CRC. “CRC Advisors will evolve out of Mueller’s existing conservative communications firm, CRC Strategies. Mueller and Leo say they plan to work with two existing non-profit groups, which will be rebranded as the Concord Fund and the 85 Fund, to funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country. The two men and their teams have plenty of experience raising and spending millions for judicial battles — including the recent fight to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — but they want to expand this to other issues like deregulation at the state and federal level.” (Axios, 1/7/2020)

Greg Mueller Was Pat Buchanan’s Comms Director. “Mueller, 34, is best known as Pat Buchanan’s communications director during his 1992 and ’96 presidential campaigns. From the car phone or the van phone, he would dial up reporters all over America, trying to line up interviews for Buchanan and making him available to react to the latest news on the wire. Talk radio. Alternative weeklies. Local cable. Anywhere an audience could be found.” (Washington Post, 7/10/1997)

Greg Mueller Has Described His Early PR Work in the 90s With CRC As The “Blue-Collar” Comms Arm Of Conservatism. “Mueller is president of a little-known Alexandria public relations firm, a hard-charging outfit called Creative Response Concepts. With a client list that includes the Christian Coalition, Human Events magazine and Regnery Publishing, CRC describes itself as the “blue-collar” communications arm for the conservative movement. That’s blue collar as in not blue chip. Plain bagels from a torn paper sack on South Washington Street. Not big-think breakfasts at the elegant Hay-Adams.” (Washington Post, 7/10/1997)

Mueller Used To Specialize Specifically In Radio Outreach. “In pivotal moments, the Republican National Committee has been known to tap CRC to help carry the party’s message beyond the Beltway — to the readers of the Register Star in Rockford, Ill., and the listeners of Blanquita Cullum’s talk radio shows, all 65 stations worth, from Richmond to Palm Springs.” (Washington Post, 7/10/1997)

Greg Mueller Worked With An Anti-Trump Super PAC In Spring 2016. ““You would be on a path to a civil war which could be disastrous,” Greg Mueller, a GOP strategist working with an anti-Trump super PAC, added.” (NBC News, 4/13/2016)

Jay Sekulow

Sekulow Was One of Bush’s “Four Horsemen”. “Then, after George W. Bush took office, Leo formed one-quarter of the “Four Horsemen” with Meese, George H.W. Bush’s White House counsel Boyden Gray, and American Center for Law and Justice counsel Jay Sekulow. Together, the four assisted the 43rd president to ensure his nominations to the Supreme Court were confirmed.” (Washington Examiner, 1/28/2018)

Sekulow Represented Trump During The Mueller Investigations. “Sekulow has argued before the Supreme Court at least a dozen times and represented the president during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.” (AP, 1/15/2020)

Sekulow Funneled Money Improperly Through His Nonprofits In Order To Support A Lavish Lifestyle. “A 2005 investigation by the publication Legal Times reported about questionable spending at ACLJ, quoting former employees describing millions in charity funds being spent to support the Sekulows’ lavish lifestyle, which included multiple homes, golf junkets, chauffeur-driven cars and a private jet used to ferry then-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Guardian and The Washington Post reported additional details in 2017, shortly after Sekulow was named as Trump’s lawyer.” (AP, 1/31/2020)

According to the Washington Post, Sekulow Funneled Money to Members of His Extended Family.“Through a complex arrangement involving ACLJ and another charity, $5.5 million was paid directly to Sekulow and five family members in salary or other compensation, tax records covering those years show. Another $7.5 million went to businesses owned by Sekulow and his sister-in-law for producing and consulting on TV, movie and radio shows, including his weekday program, “Jay Sekulow Live!” And $21 million went to a small law firm co-owned by Sekulow, records show.” (Washington Post, 6/27/2017)

Sekulow Graduated from Mercer Law School in Georgia and Launched Private Real Estate Practice that Collapsed Over Alleged Fraud and Securities Violations.“A Brooklyn native, Sekulow graduated from Mercer Law School in Georgia and briefly worked for the Internal Revenue Service before going into private practice in Atlanta with his former classmate Roth in the early 1980s. The pair specialized in buying and selling historic properties as tax shelters, but the business collapsed after disgruntled investors sued them over alleged fraud and securities violations. Court records show both Sekulow and Roth filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1987.” (AP, 1/31/2020)

Sekulow Re-branded Himself as a Religious Liberties Lawyer with “Jews for Jesus.” “Sekulow quickly remade himself as general counsel for the group Jews for Jesus. A self-described Messianic Jew, Sekulow won a religious liberties case before the U.S. Supreme Court after members of the group were barred from passing out pamphlets at the Los Angeles International Airport. The following year, records show Sekulow founded the non-profit Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), a charity “dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, god given rights.” In 1992, he was named chief counsel at the ACLJ, which was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson as a conservative counterweight to the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union. It is affiliated with the law school at Regent University, the Christian college founded by Robertson and located next to the studios of his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia.” (AP, 1/31/2020)

Ed Whelan

Ed Whelan Was President Of The Ethics And Public Policy Center, But Was Forced To Take A Leave of Absence After Spreading Disinformation During The Kavanaugh Hearings. “The Ethics and Public Policy Center announced Sunday that its president, Ed Whelan, “will take a leave of absence” from the conservative Washington think tank after peddling a conspiracy theory on social media last week related to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.” (Politico, 9/23/2018)

Whelan Worked In Conjunction With CRC Public Relations During Disinformation Campaign. “POLITICO reported on Friday that CRC Public Relations, a prominent firm based in Alexandria, Va., assisted Whelan in coordinating the rollout of his attempt to discredit Ford’s account and exculpate Kavanaugh.” (Politico, 9/23/2018)

According to Politico, Whelan Is A Longtime Friend of Brett Kavanaugh’s. “Whelan worked over the next 48 hours with CRC and its president, Greg Mueller, to stoke the anticipation. A longtime friend of Kavanaugh’s, Whelan teased his reveal — even as he refused to discuss it with other colleagues and close friends, a half dozen of them said.” (Politico, 9/21/2018)

Whelan Also Served As Advisor To The White House Counsel During George W. Bush’s First Term. “From just before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, until joining EPPC in 2004, Mr. Whelan was the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. In that capacity, he advised the White House Counsel’s Office, the Attorney General and other senior DOJ officials, and departments and agencies throughout the executive branch on difficult and sensitive legal questions.” (Ethics and Public Policy Center, Last Accessed: 5/15/2020)

LEONARD LEO’S KNOWN ORGANIZATIONS

Leonard Leo: “I Have No Idea How Many Groups I’ve Been Involved With Over the Years.”“Leo called himself “a leader of the conservative legal movement” and said, “I have no idea how many groups I’ve been involved with over the years.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

BH Group

Leo Listed BH Group As An Employer Soon After Its Mysterious Donation To Trump’s Inaugural Committee.“The mysterious LLC created four months to the day before it made a $1 million donation to the Trump inaugural committee on Dec. 22, 2016… One name that CRP has tied to the mysterious LLC is Leonard Leo, the executive vice president at the Federalist Society, an influential conservative and libertarian legal organization, who listed “BH Group” as his employer in a campaign finance filing reported to the Federal Election Commission.” (OpenSecrets News, 11/28/2018)

BH Group Received Significant Money From JCN and Wellspring. “In the two years following its formation, the BH Group received more than $4 million from the Judicial Crisis Network, a related group called the Judicial Education Project and a third nonprofit in the network called the Wellspring Committee, all of them connected to Leo through funding, personnel and the same accountant, IRS filings show. The groups described the payments in IRS filings as consulting, research and public relations fees.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

BH Group Provides “Management and Consulting Service.” ““BH Group is a private firm whose team of professionals, which includes Leonard Leo, provides management and consulting services to philanthropists and nonprofits,” a CRC spokesman for Leo said in a statement. “Like similar firms on the Left, its clients are private as are the details of the work for them.”” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

BH Fund

BH Fund Was Created By Leo and Jonathan Bunch In January 2016 And It Remains Active. Virginia’s business records show that BH Fund was formed in January of 2016 and is still active. Its registered agent is North Rock Reports, its President is Leonard Leo, and its treasurer is Jonathan Bunch. (Virginia State Corporation Commission, Last Accessed: 5/7/2020)

Leo Used The BH Fund to Influence George Mason University Law School.“A public records request revealed that Leo and another Federalist Society vice president have also been involved in a nonprofit called the BH Fund, which was set up to enforce a donor agreement between an anonymous $20 million donor and the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, whose president came under fire for allowing donors to dictate conditions in return for financial gifts.” (OpenSecrets News, 11/28/2018)

McClatchy: Source Said Unknown Donor for the BH Fund “Very Wealthy and On the Young Side.”“The donor providing the $20 million that Leo’s BH Fund administers is “low-profile, very wealthy and on the young side,” a source told McClatchy. But he or she is still anonymous.” (OpenSecrets News, 5/14/2018)

Freedom and Opportunity Fund

The Freedom and Opportunity Fund Was One of Three Shell Nonprofits That Leo Founded During 2016. “As the 2016 election campaign heated up, Leo became president of three new nonprofits whose tax filings and incorporation records illustrate how his network sometimes operates. The groups — called BH Fund, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund and America Engaged — were formed by an employee at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, a Warrenton, Va., law firm with deep ties to the conservative movement. The nonprofits reported having no employees and no websites. They had virtually no public presence. Leo’s role as president of all three groups was not disclosed for nearly three years because of lags in how nonprofit groups report their annual operations to the IRS.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo Used The Freedom and Opportunity Fund To Funnel Money to the Independent Women’s Voice As They Did Media Appearances In Support Of Kavanaugh. “In another case, a nonprofit Leo launched in 2016, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund, gave $4 million over two years to a nonprofit called Independent Women’s Voice, about half the group’s revenue, tax filings show. Leaders of Independent Women’s Voice last year spoke at rallies, wrote online commentary and appeared regularly on Fox News to promote another of Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, Brett M. Kavanaugh.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

America Engaged

America Engaged Was One of Three Shell Nonprofits That Leo Founded During 2016. “As the 2016 election campaign heated up, Leo became president of three new nonprofits whose tax filings and incorporation records illustrate how his network sometimes operates. The groups — called BH Fund, the Freedom and Opportunity Fund and America Engaged — were formed by an employee at Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, a Warrenton, Va., law firm with deep ties to the conservative movement. The nonprofits reported having no employees and no websites. They had virtually no public presence. Leo’s role as president of all three groups was not disclosed for nearly three years because of lags in how nonprofit groups report their annual operations to the IRS.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo Used America Engaged To Funnel Money To The NRA So That They Would Run Targeted TV Advertisements Supporting Gorsuch. “In 2017, America Engaged passed on almost $1 million to the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association. That same year, the NRA announced a $1 million ad campaign in support of Gorsuch. The ads targeted lawmakers in Montana, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota who had supported Obama’s calls for gun control. “Your freedom is on the line,” the ads stated.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leo Formed America Engaged Alongside Todd Graves, Jonathan Bunch, and Boyden Gray in March 2016. Virginia’s business records show that America Engaged was created in March 2016 and is still active. Its registered agent is North Rock Reports, Inc., while Leo is the President of the organization. Its three other listed officers are Todd Graves, Jonathan Bunch, and Boyden Gray. (Virginia State Corporation Commission, Last Accessed: 5/7/2020)

The Principal Officer listed on the America Engaged 2016 Form 990-N is Neil Corkery. The IRS lists Neil Corkery as the principal officer of American Engaged on the Form 990-N Electronic Postcard. (IRS, Last Accessed: 5/21/2020)

Arlington Advisory Forum

Arlington Advisory Forum Was An Inactive Group That Leo Helped Found In January of 2016. Virginia’s business records list Leo as the registered treasurer of the Arlington Advisory Forum, with the other officers being Christopher Pollard, Jerry Pokorsky, Cynthia Searcy, and John De Celles. It was formed in January 2016, but lapsed into inactive status in 2018. (Virginia State Corporation Commission, Last Accessed: 5/7/2020)

CRC Advisors
–see CRC section–

Leo Started As The Chairman Of CRC Advisors In 2020. “Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, is stepping aside from his daily duties at the organization to launch a consulting firm that will fund conservative causes. The new firm, called CRC Advisors, is being billed as a “full-service conservative public affairs powerhouse.” Leo will be chairman of CRC Advisors, which springs from an existing conservative public relations firm called CRC Strategies.” (ABA Journal, 1/8/2020)

CRC Advisors Has Expanded Since Its Announced Opening In January 2020; On LinkedIn, It Now Lists Over 30 Employees, Including Jonathan Bunch. Employees seem to cross over between CRC Advisors, CRC Strategies, and CRC Public Relations, but Jonathan Bunch is known to be the President and Maria Marshall, Leo’s former employee from the Federalist Society, is known to now be the Vice President of Operations at CRC. (LinkedIn, Last Accessed: 5/11/2020)

Judicial Crisis Network
–see Judicial Crisis Network section–

JCN’s President, Daniel Casey, Has Worked Closely With Leo for Years. “The group’s president, Daniel Casey, has worked closely with Leo for years. Casey receives no pay from JCN or three other nonprofits in the network that he helps to lead, tax filings show. He received more than $1.5 million in fees from the Federalist Society over nine years for media training through a firm based at his home in Front Royal, Va. ” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Napa Legal Institute

Leo Sits On The Board Of the Napa Legal Institute. “Napa Legal Institute (NLI) was launched in 2019 to provide corporate education and legal resources for religious nonprofits aligned with the Catholic faith. The founders of NLI realized that, as the legal environment increases in complexity, spiritual entrepreneurs will need . specific education and timely resources so they may exercise their religious liberty without fear of transgressing the law. This requires a better knowledge of taxes, corporate structures, and a tangle of local, state, and federal labor laws and regulations. Without this type of knowledge, religious nonprofits will be impeded in their ability to evangelize and provide the social services that are indispensable to civil society. NLI recognizes that the explicit religious identity of these organizations inspires them to provide such services… Board of Directors – Leonard Leo.” (Napa Legal Institute, Last Accessed: 5/15/2020)

Liberty Central

Leo Served With Clarence Thomas’ Wife On The Board Of Her Tea Party Group, Liberty Central. “In 2010, Leo served on the board of a tea party group called Liberty Central. Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, received $120,511 as the start-up’s president that year. She later stepped down following questions about possible conflicts of interest, saying the issue had become a distraction for the group.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Virginia Thomas Is Not On Liberty Central’s Filing Record, But Leo Is. Virginia’s business records show that Liberty Central was founded in January of 2010, with Leo listed as the treasurer. Virginia Thomas was not listed on the corporation filing. The filing lapsed into inactive status in 2015. (Virginia State Corporation Commission, Last Accessed: 5/7/2020)

Catholic Association/Catholic Association Foundation

Leo Served On The Board Of The Catholic Association And Its Affiliated Charity, Fighting Against Gay Marriage. “In 2012, Leo joined the boards of the nonprofit Catholic Association and an affiliated charity, the Catholic Association Foundation. They funded campaigns to rally Catholic voters and stop states from recognizing same-sex marriage.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Leonard Leo Listed The Catholic Association As Having Paid Him Compensation.“Leonard Leo’s work in the nonprofit world has proved lucrative. The Federalist Society, a charity, has regularly paid him more than $400,000 in annual compensation in recent years, tax filings show. In 2016, the Catholic Association paid him $120,000 for management consulting.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

The Catholic Association Worked To Increase Catholic Support for Mitt Romney In 2012. “A group of conservative Catholics led by a former George W. Bush campaign staffer is engaging in a highly-targeted effort to turn out regular Mass attendees in swing states on Election Day. The most aggressive efforts are being waged in Ohio, where organizer Leonard Leo — the former Catholic outreach director for the 2004 George W. Bush campaign — and a group called The Catholic Association is trying to move the needle toward Mitt Romney.” (Politico, 10/15/2012)

Catholic Voices

Leo Launched Another Catholic Group, Catholic Voices, To Do Organizing And Advocacy Training With Catholic Lay Members On Conservative Causes. “The two Catholic nonprofits launched a third organization called Catholic Voices. Its stated mission was to train Catholic lay members to advocate for religious and conservative causes, some of whom later wrote letters for publication in major newspapers condemning the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Catholic Information Center

Leo Served On The Board Of The Catholic Information Center, A Hub For Opus Dei Activity In DC.“Barr was not questioned in any detail, for example, about his membership on the board of directors of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, the Opus Dei-linked group that offers as a meeting place for prominent Catholics in the capital. The center’s board has also included Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, the right-wing legal group tasked by Trump to help him pick federal judges, including members of the supreme court. Leo led campaigns to support of the supreme court nominations of John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, all of them Catholics, who now serve on the court.” (The Guardian, 10/19/2019)

Students for Life of America

Leo Sits On The Board of Students for Life of America, A Pro-Life Group Founded in 2007. Students for Life of America was formed in April 2007 and is still active. Its registered agent is Constantine Financial Services. Leonard Leo is a Board Members, alongside Paul Horrocks, Danielle Webb, Sean O’Hare, and Kristan Hawkins. (Virginia Corporation Search, last accessed 6/4/2020)

Reclaim New York

Leo Worked With Steve Bannon And Donor Rebekah Mercer At The Board Of Reclaim New York. “The next year, Leo joined forces with wealthy conservative donor Rebekah Mercer and Stephen K. Bannon, then the chairman of Breitbart News, on the board of a small charity known as Reclaim New York. Mercer and Bannon would go on to play central roles in Trump’s insurgent campaign, Mercer as a leading financial backer and Bannon as campaign chief. In the year Leo joined Mercer’s group, and in the two following years, the Mercer family became a leading benefactor of the Federalist Society, donating a total of nearly $6 million, tax filings show.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Reclaim Was Engaged In Libertarian-Leaning Organizing And Litigation Within New York. “Reclaim sued 11 local agencies for either denying the requests or not complying quickly enough. When it won, Reclaim fought for lawyers’ fees. One Rockland County village implored the judge to impose what it called “The Mercer Mercy Rule” and not require the cash-strapped village to pay the legal bills for the billionaire’s nonprofit. The judge agreed.” (WNYC, 2/12/2018)

Council for National Policy

Leo Serves On The Board Of Governors For The Council For National Policy. “Leo’s work to influence judicial nominations has made him a hero to some conservative activists. The esteem was evident in February at the closed-door meeting of the nonprofit Council for National Policy, where Leo serves on the board of governors.” (Washington Post, 5/21/2019)

Rule of Law Project

As Director of the Rule of Law Project, Leo Donated $145,000 to the Rule of Law Defense Fund in 2014.“Mr. Leo was a director of a nonprofit group called the Rule of Law Project that donated $145,000 to the Rule of Law Defense Fund in 2014.” (New York Times, 5/1/2018)

The Rule Of Law Project Only Existed For Two Years. Virginia’s business records show that the Rule of Law Project existed from 2014 to 2016, with Leo listed as its director. Its registered agent was Cogency Global Inc., and its other officers were Star Eiting, Adam White, and William Kristol. One officer’s address was listed as being in Texas. (Virginia State Corporation Commission, Last Accessed: 5/7/2020)

LEONARD LEO FUNDING

Wellspring, One Of Leo’s Key Shell Nonprofits, Had Two Major Donors, But The New York Times Was Unable To Find An Answer As To Who Those Donors Were. “Wellspring also does not disclose where it gets its money. Here is an excerpt from its 2013 tax return that shows almost all of its money that year came from just two donations. But it would not say who those donors are. Federal law does not require such a disclosure. So The New York Times reached a dead end.” (New York Times, 3/19/2017)

Wellspring Funneled Money To The Judicial Crisis Network. “A separate nonprofit group, called Wellspring Committee, is run by Ann Corkery, the wife of Neil Corkery. This Internal Revenue Service disclosure shows that Wellspring donated $5.75 million to Judicial Crisis Network in 2015, suggesting that it was the sole source of money for Judicial Crisis Network. Wellspring also gave money to the Federalist Society and other conservative legal causes.” (New York Times, 3/19/2017)

The Judicial Crisis Network Only Has Two Donors, Both Of Whom Are Again Undisclosed. “This form shows that the Judicial Crisis Network lists that it has no employees or volunteers. In a document provided at the request of The New York Times, it also shows that almost all of its money–or perhaps all of it–came from just two donors, which the group declined to name. Federal law does not require non profits to disclose the names of their donors. Neil Corkery is listed as the treasurer of the Judicial Crisis Network.” (New York Times, 3/19/2017)

JCN’s Previously Known Donors Were Robin Arkley II and Jay Sekulow. “JCN’s existence has not always hinged entirely on Wellspring. For its first three years in operation under the Judicial Confirmation Network moniker before rebranding following Obama’s 2008 election, JCN received initial support from California “foreclosure king” Robin Arkley II and raked in seed money from the American Center for Law and Justice under Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and a member of the Federalist Society, the influential conservative and libertarian lawyers network that does disclose its donors in annual reports.” (OpenSecrets News, 5/23/2019)

Wellspring Was Quietly Shuttered In December 2018 After 11 Years of Being Used As A Funnel. “The Wellspring Committee’s existence has come to an apparent end, according to state incorporation records showing the dark money group’s termination. Wellspring was just shy of eleven years old. The group died as it lived, surreptitiously. Officially shutting down in December 2018, its fate was not discovered until May 19, 2019. The name Wellspring Committee may already be forgotten — or entirely unknown — to most, but its life’s efforts were certainly not in vain.” (OpenSecrets News, 5/23/2019)

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